Monday, October 19, 2009

The Story of a Brave Orphan-Sarah Books Review


Ironically, just as our family considered adopting a young lady named Sarah, I received a free autographed copy of Sarah's Wish from Author Jim Baumgardner for review purposes. I love to read but lately, most of my reading has been informational due to a full schedule. This time, I took advantage of having an assignment which gave me "an excuse" to read a 126 page historical novella! I couldn't wait. From the very beginning, I felt nothing but delight.

For starters, I was impressed to find the author a very personable, old-fashioned style gentleman (so it seemed from our brief correspondence via email and letter). His generosity and pleasant communication with the TOS Crew spoke volumes for his character. I was "sold" before I even flipped the cover open to read his book. Or should I say, the curiosity over the series intensified for me?

As a free lance writer with membership in critique groups, I scan and critique many pre-market manuscripts from multiple genres, so the tendency for me when looking at any book is often to jump into the "edit" or "critique" mode instinctively. Knowing this, I gave Sarah's Wish to my teens first and worked in the kitchen nearby while they took turns reading aloud. Since the chapters were quite short but interesting enough to propel the reader forward, my boys read several in one sitting. They enjoyed alternating between the characters' accents and the readability factor was good. (We did it sort of Reader's Theatre style.)

I listened as they told of a brave young girl named Sarah Smith whose family helped smuggle "packages" through the Underground Railroad in the early nineteenth century. Sarah became an orphan but continued to stand for the principles that her mother and father both modeled to her. Sarah trusts only a few adults, mostly Granny and Dr. Baum, who help her search for a new family and to continue fulfilling her family's promise to protect slaves. The two characters travel with her across country intending to place her with a potential adoptive family. The suspense thickens as they discover surprising secrets about this "Christian" family who wants to adopt her. Sarah's hopes are dashed due to the occurrences that follow this discovery. Sarah is a very empathetic character who sets a good example of strength, courage and faith as she proceeds through the events in the story.

This is such a colorful piece of Young Adult Fiction based on real life events that occurred in the lives of the author's ancestors. It is totally wholesome-you will find no objectionable content here. It is full of mystery and yet familiar. In this book, you will find gypsies, slaves and slave catchers, country bumpkins, posh plantation runners, simple townsfolk, riverboat rides, a sneak peak at early American medicine and danger around the corner in almost every chapter.

The characters in the story are life-like and well rounded. In fact, they were so realistic that my children felt the emotions of the main characters where they paralleled similar life experiences to their own. They related by remembering what it was like to move out of their own birth homes and to long for a family to call their own. They also related to some of the mistreatment of the characters in the story. For this reason, I allowed them to take a break from reading for a while as we discussed the feelings of the characters (and theirs respectively). We will continue reading the book together again later after they have more time to process everything but as they needed a break, I allowed them to set it down.

Of course, I was now hooked on the story and had to pick up where my sons had left off. I didn't stay in "edit" mode very long as I became engrossed in the details. I took the book to bed with me and read for a while for a couple of nights until I had finished the story. I thought I would begin reading for my "homework" but soon forgot about that and simply enjoyed it for the sake of the story. I had forgotten what a blessing it was to read for pleasure! My only disappointment when I finished the book was that I did not have the sequel already in hand. It won't be long until I do, though! I intend to purchase the series over time, especially since the author gave this reviewer a steep discount offer.

In the back of this particular book, you will also find a coupon code for a free audio download of the story. I downloaded it to my mp3 player. I can't wait to listen to it again.
Not only am I impressed with the book I received but also by all that the author does for his customers and for needy people. He gives a portion of his proceeds to a ministry called Carpenter's Place. You can read all about what they do and see, when you visit the link, why I am even more supportive of this endeavor.
Knowing that you can help needy families and children who need a home, you may want to buy some of Mr. Baumgardner's books for your enjoyment and to help others.

The retail price is $10.99 at a bookstore but on the author's website, you can purchase it for $9.99 with free shipping and handling. Discussion Questions are available as well.
Visit the links below for more information in this and other books by Jim Baumgardner. Be sure to sign up for his newsletter which is full of fun word plays and more information on the period of history where his books are set. He also has a homeschool page there to view.

VENDOR: Sarah Books
CONTACT: Jim Baumgardner, Author
PHONE: 316-613-2591

To read what other TOS Reviewers have to say about this Vendor and more, click on either one of the banners found in the upper right and lower right sections of the sidebar on this blog page. As always, thank you for reading my review and come back for more later.


JoJo Tabares said...

Boy you have been a busy little reviewing bee these days!

Olivia said...

That sounds like one I'd like for sure. My friend Jenn, Mejia Familia Blog, has been homeschooling this being her first year. I told her about you because I know you love the Lord and believe in your kids, so I told her to look at your blog. Hopefully she will. Hope things are well with you all. Blessings.