Many great Americans have thought so, including President Abraham Lincoln as he signs the proclamation creating Thanksgiving as a permanent national holiday for the United States of America. “You must know and remember this,” Lincoln puts the matter bluntly. “Our nation began with a miracle.”
The amazing facts are little remembered today. After their first Thanksgiving celebration in 1621, the Pilgrim settlers at Plymouth Plantation experienced an unmitigated series of disasters that left almost nothing to celebrate. Their third year in the new land nearly ended in the complete destruction of Plymouth. Ultimately the colony managed to survive only as the result of what the Pilgrims saw as one of the most astounding instances of divine intervention in human history outside the pages of the Bible, an event so awe-inspiring that it turned the fortunes of Plymouth completely and permanently around.
This historically accurate novel tells the story of that terrible ordeal and its culminating miracle through the eyes of real people, Francis and Hester Cooke and their children, as they and the other people of Plymouth struggle against discord, danger, despair, hunger, exhaustion and outright terror—along with all the accompanying doubts assailing their strong Christian faith.
These various conflicts play out over 1623, one of the most dramatic years in American colonial history. The great Wampanoag chieftain Massasoit Ousamequin, who has kept the peace, falls ill to the point of death. The Pilgrims learn that two hostile braves of the local Massachusett Tribe are attempting to foment a war to exterminate all the white newcomers. Should these troublemakers be stopped, even if by a murderous preemptive strike?
What happens afterward, when nature itself seems to turn against all the inhabitants of the land, with the fingers of blame pointed squarely at the people of Plymouth by enraged Native Americans? What happens when the situation becomes so ominous, so deadly, so far beyond human solution, that the Pilgrims have nowhere to turn except to God and the power of prayer?