Curious about fiction that features Quakers, either as main characters or minor characters.

Does anyone recommend - or not recommend - any in particular?

I'm in the middle of one now that somebody passed on to me because it had Quakers in it. Probably best not to comment on it until I finish it. The title is "In Every Heartbeat" by Kim Vogel Sawyer, a historical novel, set in Missouri in 1914.

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There were Quakers involved in whaling out of Nantucket. I believe that Lucretia Mott's family were whaling people. The character of Starbuck in Moby Dick is supposed to be Quaker, if I remember correctly.

Four good young adult historical novels featuring Quakers

I've read them all.  The summaries are found online:

 

Two by Ann Turnbull:

No Shame, No Fear .  Set in England in the 1660s, the novel depicts the love between a Quaker girl, Susanna, and Will, the son of a rich merchant. Their story takes place during the persecution of religious dissenters that took place after the restoration of the monarchy.   In March 2007, a stage adaptation of No Shame, No Fear was produced at the Jermyn Street Theatre in London [2] and reviewed for The Stage newspaper. [3]

Forged in the Fire (sequel to No Shame, No Fear)

Star-crossed young lovers triumph over religious intolerance, social disgrace and epic historical events (plague and the Great Fire of London of 1666).

 

Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana by Melanie Dobson

In a divided town during a dangerous era, who can be trusted? Liberty, Indiana, is home to a stop on the Underground Railroad operated by Anna Brent and her father, covert Quaker abolitionists who harbor runaway slaves traveling toward freedom. The Brents must be very careful; anyone caught aiding runaways is subject to imprisonment under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.

 

The Back Bench  by MARGARET HOPE BACON
It's 1837, and fourteen-year-old Quaker Myra Harlan's mother has died, forcing her to leave her home and family in the country to live in Philadelphia. Shocked by the racism she sees all around her and caught in the aftermath of the Orthodox-Hicksite split in the Religious Society of Friends, Myra longs for her mother and struggles to make friends until she finds the Female Anti-Slavery Society, Lucretia Mott, Sarah Douglass, and - ultimately - herself.  

 

I asked this question earlier this year too. I've been compiling a list, and I'll be adding to it from suggestions here - thanks! You can see the list here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/1986715-fran?format=html&s...

A note for anyone who's read the Ann Turnbull books - there's a 3rd one out now! It's called 'Seeking Eden' and is set in the New World.

Moby Dick was inspired by the true story of the whaleship Essex, which sailed out of Nantucket.   Nantucket Island was settled by Quakers and the majority of the whaleships were owned and outfitted by Quakers.  Starbuck,  the name of one of the characters in Moby Dick, is a very Quaker name.  

Jeremy Voaden said:

One reference that I have never understood, is that at the start of Moby Dick, where it is stated that the whale-hunting vessel is a "Quaker ship". Given the nature of Captain Ahab and the other seamen, and the purpose of the vessel, this has always struck me as curious. Does anyone know if there were such "Quaker ships" and any background to them?
Great book.

And many of the Nantucket Quaker Whalers ended up here in Nova Scotia. The "Quaker House" is a local museum now.  Here is a link with the story of these Quakers, including a comment on Herman Melville and how he came to write Moby Dick:

http://www.dartmouthheritagemuseum.ns.ca/dhmHistoricHousesQuaker.html



Miriam Bunner said:

Moby Dick was inspired by the true story of the whaleship Essex, which sailed out of Nantucket.   Nantucket Island was settled by Quakers and the majority of the whaleships were owned and outfitted by Quakers.  Starbuck,  the name of one of the characters in Moby Dick, is a very Quaker name.  

Jeremy Voaden said:

One reference that I have never understood, is that at the start of Moby Dick, where it is stated that the whale-hunting vessel is a "Quaker ship". Given the nature of Captain Ahab and the other seamen, and the purpose of the vessel, this has always struck me as curious. Does anyone know if there were such "Quaker ships" and any background to them?
Great book.

Diana Gabaldon has several Quakers in her multi-book series, Outlander.  There is one Quaker in the first book, I think.  Later in the series there are Quaker brother and sister pair (the Hunters). The sister becomes a main love interest for a main character.  So, they have a lot more character development.  

Although it was nice to have Quakers appear in my novel, the author had these characters struggle with witnessing the main principles.  In the end, you walk away with thinking that Quakers don't really live up to their beliefs.

I fear this chain is now dead but I'd mention the English brothers Harvey as two Quaker authors of fiction.  Thomas Edmund Harvey (1875-1955) wrote Poor Raoul and other fables (1905) but is better known as a politician while his brother William Fryer Harvey (1885-1937) wrote gothic stories and the script for the film The Beast with Five Fingers.

Hi I wrote a short novel that has some Quaker and Quaker like characters. If you wish you can have a free download (or order a paperback if you prefer) just head over to my profile and follow the appropriate links. :)

- DTH

"Moby Dick": I suppose that Quakers did own the whaling business, but  were too refined to work on the ships, so Ahab, Bildad etc. are no Quakers.

James Michener: "Texas" gives a good and rather critical account of a young Quaker who makes a living out of leading a reservation for Native People but then becomes somewhat dissident when he discovers that the Native Indians use the reservation as a refugee from where to organize raids in the neighbourhood and even stealing a girl. He lets the army or police into the reservation  which of course costs him his place in the Quaker community.

Interesting stuff.

There is a historical novel called Flowers From The Storm by Laura Kinsale in which the heroine is a Quaker. I really like her books.

I read a few years ago Quaker Summer by Lisa Samson.  It's in some series called Women of Faith Fiction.  This particular novel spoke to me solely for the title.  It focuses on a woman who is in personal crisis and after an eventful incident in the beginning ends up at the door of two elderly Quaker women.  I thought the author did a great job in characterizing who different women from the Quaker community; I "knew" these ladies.  I also appreciated the whole character of the main protagonist.  She's not 100% good or evil.  She's just struggling, trying, failing, and seeking.   It's good.

Best,

Sonja

(member at Cambridge Friends Meeting, MA)

I think this is the comprehensive list of mentioned books in this thread.  We have been sharing fiction books with major/minor Quaker characters.  (This includes the list from Fran's 2012 goodreads list that is shared as a post in this list.)

Quakers in Fiction

Bed in Hell by Elfrida Vipont

Christy by Catherine Marshall

Colin Writes to Friends House by Elfrida Vipont

Falling to Heaven by Jeanne Peterson

Flowering Spring (The Haverard Family, #4) by Elfrida Vipont

Flowers From The Storm by Laura Kinsale

Forged in the Fire (Quaker Trilogy #2)) by Ann Turnbull

I Take Thee, Serenity by Daisy Newman

Indian Summer of the Heart by Daisy Newman

Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana by Melanie Dobson

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

No Shame, No Fear by Ann Turnbull

Notes from an Exhibition by Patrick Gale

Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldon 

Pennterra by Judith Moffett

Poor Raoul and other fables (1905) by Thomas Edmund Harvey (1875-1955)

Quaker Indictment by Irene Allen

Quaker Silence by Irene Allen

Quaker Summer by Lisa Samson

Quaker Testimony by Irene Allen

Quaker Witness by Irene Allen

Seeking Eden (Quaker Trilogy #3) by Irene Allen

Still Forms on Foxfield  by Joan  Slonczewski

Terror by Night by Elfrida Vipont

Texas by James Michener

The Back Bench  by MARGARET HOPE BACON

The Chymical Wedding by Lindsay Clarke

The Iron Bridge by David E. Morse

The Lamb's War by Jan de Hartog

The Lark in the Morn (The Haverard Family, #1) by Elfrida Vipont

The Lark on the Wing (The Haverard Family, #2) by Elfrida Vipont

The Pavilion (The Haverard Family, #5) by Elfrida Vipont

The Peaceable Kingdom by Jan de Hartog

The Peculiar People by Jan de Hartog

The Spring of the Year (The Haverard Family, #3) by Elfrida Vipont

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls

Underground to Canada by Barbara Smucker

Voyageurs by Margaret Elphinstone

Your Friend Rebecca by Linda Hoy

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