The Messenger by Claude J. Chafin

June 14, 2019

One of the things I bask in reading is that it transports us readers to other times, other places, other experience, and other lives. I always love me a good true to life and adventure book. It’s like my go-to comfort read and this book is no different. I don't even know if I can put into enough words to profess how incredibly compelling this book is. Not only is the writing superb, but it is extremely invigorating, and it definitely fires my imagination on every story from start to finish.


Claude L. Chafin has put together a concisely written new take on the infamous blood feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys. The author’s grandfather, Andrew Chafin, was recruited at age nine to become a messenger boy for his notorious uncle, William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield, the family patriarch. From this fact, Chafin unfolds a well-researched, freshly riveting story about the dangers of vengeance and the distortions of justice along the West Virginia-Kentucky border. Andrew Chafin’s service to his uncle began in 1895, seven years after the feud had boiled up to its murderous peak.  It is a true story with rich character development that draws you into that world. And it certainly prompts your thinking about life, values, family and how much what we are today depends on those who came before.


I literally could not put this book down. It gave me a clear understanding of life in the mountains and why the things that transpired could and did happen. Andrew Chafin showed bravery, loyalty, and intelligence far beyond his tender age. The author was entertaining and quick-witted. Reading his story felt as though he was right beside me talking in his own voice. I mostly took pleasure in listening to his stories and could definitely pertain to many of the people that he wrote about. I highly recommend this book.


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