The Kendal Sparrow: A Novel of Elizabeth Fletcher
Now available as an audiobook (mp3 download, approximately 8 hrs) directed by Jon Watts of QuakerSpeak and read by actress Dana Dae. To hear an excerpt, click here.
The early Quaker movement was fired by the spiritual activism and vision of young adults. The Kendal Sparrow is a fictional account of one of them. Elizabeth Fletcher, a real-life sheltered, English farm girl, was convinced in 1652 by George Fox. Based on historical records and careful research, Barbara Schell Luetke brings to life the story of Fletcher, a young Friend who breaks from the prescribed roles of women of that time to travel hundreds of miles to preach and find purpose in her life. The Kendal Sparrow includes the “tellings” of many of the youngest members of those known today as the Valiant Sixty and shows that each of our lives matters and can speak.
Additional materials in paperback and ebook include:
Biography of Elizabeth Fletcher
Brief Biographies of the Young Quakers Appearing in this Novel
Queries for Book Clubs and Discussion Groups
Barbara Schell Luetke is a member of Salmon Bay Meeting (Seattle, Washington) and North Pacific Yearly Meeting. She also attends Madison Temple Church of God in Christ, a Pentecostal church located in the heart of Seattle. Barbara is the mother of four adult daughters and was a professor in Deaf Education for fifty years. She has published eight books and over a hundred journal articles.
This novel, her first, was written after a pilgrimage to 1652 Country and study at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Center.
Author Barbara Schell Luetke is available for book talks. Please contact the bookstore manager at firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch with her.
High Praise for The Kendal Sparrow
"The Kendal Sparrow takes us on an enthralling journey of risky early ministry with a young Friend in the days when the term was barely coined. Debut novelist Barbara Luetke weaves a fictionalized tale of the real Elizabeth Fletcher, one of the ‘Valiant Sixty’ in mid-sixteen-hundreds England and Ireland. Readers will appreciate the deeply researched historic detail as they experience the setting and times of the first Friends of Truth.” — Edith Maxwell, author of the Quaker Midwife Mysteries
"The Kendall Sparrow provides readers with an accessible, well-researched novelization of the story of Early Friends, as seen through the lens of a dynamic, young female. For that alone, it is a welcome addition to any meeting library and should be of interest to Young Adult Friends. That it also conveys messages about the personal and sometimes difficult nature of our Faith gives me reason to commend it to all. " — David Tucker in Western Friend
“Carefully researched, this novel captures the excitement and risk that the new life Quakerism offered its early converts, how outcasts could find meaning in a life of ministry and preaching, and how loving friendship bound the Quaker network together. Deftly paced and very moving.” — Ben Pink Dandelion, Director of the Centre for Research in Quaker Studies at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre
“Growing up in the Religious Society of Friends, the stories of those who founded our faith were plentiful — but the young age of George Fox and those he convinced were noticeably absent. Here the experiences of Elizabeth Fletcher and her companions, alongside so many well-known Quaker names, retell the history of Quakerism’s founding through the teenagers who brought it to life. Complete with the true biographies of these young Friends at the book’s conclusion, The Kendal Sparrow provides generations to come with an invaluable resource. Let us reclaim our history.” — Breeze Richardson, member of Oread Friends Meeting
“Early Quakers opposed novels, but it’s no fiction that as the subject of a skilled writer such as Barbara Luetke, they make for intriguing reading! The Kendal Sparrow lets the life of Elizabeth Fletcher tell the story of how young men and women of the 17th century sought to transform the world, addressing issues as relevant today as they were then.” — Max L. Carter, emeritus William R. Rogers Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College
“In The Kendal Sparrow, Barbara Luetke gives us a thoughtful account of the life of Elizabeth Fletcher, one of the First Publishers of Truth. In Luetke, she has found a sympathetic and readable biographical novelist.” — Thomas Hamm, Professor of History, Curator of the Quaker Collection, and Director of Special Collections at Earlham College
“The Kendal Sparrow takes us back in time to the dynamic, revolutionary birth of Quakerism — when the world turned upside down. We see how the charismatic founder, George Fox, galvanized this religious movement, inspiring his followers of all ages to follow their spiritual leadings and spread the Word courageously throughout the world. With excellent description and characterization, Barbara Luetke brings to life the intensity and power of the earliest Friends, giving flesh and bone to Elizabeth Fletcher and twenty other young adult Quaker women and men who risked everything in the name of Truth. Through this compelling and moving story, we are able to understand and appreciate the sacrifices made for the freedom of religious expression.” — Michele Lise Tarter, editor of New Critical Studies on Early Quaker Women, 1650–1800 (co-edited with Catie Gill)
Luetke presents a fictional account in a lively, detailed, and well-researched novel. -- Judy Ray, Pima Monthly MeetingAuthor: Barbara Schell Luetke
Publisher: QuakerPress of FGC (November 2019)
ISBN: 9781733412605, paperback
ISBN: 9781733412612, eBook