Mercy Clifton, Pilgrim Girl by Peter Marshall, David Manuel, and Sheldon Maxwell has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is in the "Crimson Cross" series.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Mercy Clifton, a traveler on the Mayflower, is the first European to set foot in what will be Plymouth, Mass. During her travels and her first year in the New World, she loses her parents, wrestles with whether she should stay or return to England, and tries to keep her thoughts and decisions in line with God's Word. Along the way, she is attracted to a boy named Jack. Although he likes Mercy and eventually asks her to marry him, Jack focuses on getting rich and being a man of means, not of God. Through facing hardship, meeting Squanto and other American Indians, and cooking a feast of thanksgiving, Mercy chooses to align herself with God's design, not Jack's, and trust in His provision.
Mercy and other Pilgrims pray, seek God's will and praise Him for His goodness. When one Pilgrim is tossed overboard by a wave (he was in a place he shouldn't have been) and is rescued, the Pilgrim leaders praise God for saving him and nurse him back to health. They try to show God's love to others no matter how difficult the situation. Over time, the captain of their ship and those on it who are not Pilgrims come to respect this group, called the Saints, because of their love for each other and service to those who are not in their group.
Other Belief Systems
Two groups are on the Mayflower: Saints and Strangers. The Saints are those who seek religious freedom in the New World and try to follow God's will for their lives. The Strangers are all others. Some of the Strangers seek fortune. Others seek fame or power. Many eventually become Christians. Some sailors on the Mayflower are superstitious. Native Americans believe in a Great Spirit deity. The Great Spirit is mentioned but the belief system is not explored. At one point, Squanto tells how he felt the eagle took his prayers to the Great Spirit.
Mr. Billington beats his wife, but the reader only learns about the bruises and her fear that he might be reported. Jack's younger brother plays with gunpowder and almost blows up the Mayflower. About half of the travelers die of illness or because of accidents on the voyage or during the first year as colonists. Mr. Billington points his musket at American Indians, but his son keeps him from shooting them. A group of Pilgrims attack a group of American Indians, but this battle is fought through trickery, and no one is killed. At one point, Jack threatens to hurt Mercy and leave her in the swamp. When a wolf almost attacks Mercy, her American Indian friend kills it with a knife, but not before Mercy's dog is almost killed by the wolf. Jack tells a story about dodging arrows as he was running for his life, but all of Jack's stories are exaggerated. Diseases and maladies are described, such as when one man's foot is frostbitten and two of his toes turn black.
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