Sunday, December 15, 2002

New Trailblazer Books: Blinded by the Shining Path and

The Trailblazer Book series, for young readers (ages 8 – 12) introduces two new stories about boys living in vastly different societies and parts of the world, both of whom are impacted by the Christian missionary of their time.

In Blinded by the Shining Path, the authors present a more contemporary story, about present-day evangelical Christianity in Peru. The story takes place only ten years ago, in 1992, with a plot loosely based on true events in the life of Romulo Saune (pronounced ROW-muh-low SOUW-nyay), evangelist to Peru. The story is told from the viewpoint of 14-year-old Alfredo Garcia, peasant boy and reluctant member of the violent communist group, The Shining Path. After an action suspense beginning, Alfredo soon tells his story -- much of the book in first person -- of events that led up to this point in the story. Through Alfredo the reader learns about Peruvian Indians, specifically the Quechua tribe from the Andes Mountains, and their many hardships: poverty and crime from the roving bandits. Current-day evangelistic work is mentioned, including the well-known Jesus film and its role in spreading the gospel to the people of Peru. As usual, notes at the beginning and end of this Trailblazer book tell more about the missionary and his life. Since this story takes place so recently, the book also includes a follow-up, of events since Romulo's death in 1992.

Risking the Forbidden Game presents life in the Muslim world in 1925. Jamal is a twelve-year-old Arab boy living in Morocco during the French occupation. Living amidst soldiers of the French Foreign Legion, Jamal and his friend, Hameem, begin a daring game. They collect items from the foreigners, or infidels – and whoever acquires the most "points" from items collected, wins. Jamal starts collecting Jesus pictures from the American missionary Maude Cary, but soon realizes that the pictures tell a story. He finds himself challenged with the message that the nice missionary lady tells, and torn between his Muslim upbringing and what he learns about Jesus. The historical situation includes a rebellion by Muslim soldiers (under Abd el-Krim) against the French rulers, and the uncertainty: who will win control of Morocco?

Risking the Forbidden Game is also a good introduction for children, of the day-to-day life of Muslim children -- who have many rules and restrictions placed on them. Yet Jamal and Hameem come across as ordinary children, who go to school most days of the week but enjoy their playtime – and sometimes get into trouble for missing their morning prayers. Much of the story occurs during Ramadan, in April of 1925, and Jamal may go hungry if he wakes up too late to eat before the sun comes up. (Muslims cannot eat during the day for the month of Ramadan). Notes at the book’s end tell more about Maude Cary’s missionary work, which spanned the first fifty years of the 20th century. As told afterwards, three main characters – Jamal, Hameem, and a French Foreign Legion soldier – are loosely based on actual people impacted by Maude Cary’s work.

Both of these Trailblazer books, Blinded by the Shining Path and Risking the Forbidden Game are excellent additions to the ever-expanding children’s series, with adventure and positive character development, and should especially appeal to young boys.

Sunday, December 1, 2002

The Reluctant Commander: George Washington's First Command

Richard Patton’s series "The Neophyte Warrior" continues with the second book, The Reluctant Commander. Starting immediately where His Majesty’s Envoy ended, the tale unfolds with the beginning of the French and Indian War in the spring of 1754.

The Reluctant Commander includes a synopsis of the previous book and its several subplots, as well as a "Cast of Characters." The main story involves Washington in his new role as Colonel and – reluctantly – in charge of the military operation to remove the French from the disputed territories. But everything seems stacked against the young leader, who can never acquire enough men, supplies and food. Soon he inadvertently starts a war, and later experiences his first – and only – military defeat. The actual events at Great Meadows are covered in exacting detail, with the actual historical figures as the primary characters involved. As such, the story would yield few surprises to historians; but since the event is little known to today’s average reader, The Reluctant Commander provides a thorough, yet entertaining, history lesson complete with witty dialogue and humorous moments. Through Patton’s historical narrative and character interaction, we can appreciate both the political situation and the colonists’ attitudes. The many Scottish characters in particular enliven the story with their rich heritage of stubborn independence, drunken merriment, and remembrances of past conflicts between Scottish and British in years past.

The subplots begun in the first book take a backseat for a time, with the more pressing action involving Washington and his cohorts -- Christopher Gist (though in a much smaller role this time), Robert Stobo, Jacob Van Braam and Captain James Mackay. Old Smoke and "Stump Neck" (formerly known as Pariah West) are still around, but in reduced roles. One exception to this reduced coverage is an expanded role for the somewhat comical Indian "Striking Eagle", Old Smoke’s young friend now obsessed with killing Englishmen. The author skillfully employs dialogue between Striking Eagle and a French soldier to illustrate the radically differing views of warfare. The contrasts are indeed striking, and clearly displayed: civilized Europeans versus barbarian, savage American Indians; and the continental European "line" style warfare versus hide-and-ambush combat in this new, as-yet-untamed land. Then comes also the ironic savage-reversal with the bizarre story of "Stump Neck," an Englishman gone mad, reverting to barbarian cruelty far worse than the Indians who never had "civilized society" to begin with.

Richard Patton continues a well-written, historically detailed account of a little-known period in American History, events which would help bring about the American Revolution and forever impact its leader, George Washington. The only thing the book lacks is geographical aids – any map or maps, which would help in placing the proper context of "Great Meadows" and other places referenced. Perhaps future installments of the "Neophyte Warrior" will include maps showing the places of action. Still, the series is off to a good start with the first two books, and the third one – The Lion’s Apprentice – promises further developments (and the end of this second book gives a brief look ahead).

Friday, November 15, 2002

His Watchful Eye: German Christians During World War II

His Watchful Eye, Jack Cavanaugh's sequel to the Christy-Award winning While Mortals Sleep, begins three years after the first book ends, in the fall of 1943, and continues until the war's end in April 1945. This story has a decidedly darker tone. Though Hitler reigned in the first book, Berlin had not yet seen the devastation of war and harder times. Now young German men march through Russia, terrorizing peasants and slogging through winter mud. Berlin, too, is a bombed-out shell of its former greatness.

Josef Schumacher, the main character in the first book, has only a minor role now. Three years after his torture at Hadamar, where the Nazis cruelly experimented on his body, Josef is now a shell of a man, slowly dying. The young people he once pastored now take on primary roles, and we get a glimpse of life as experienced by Konrad, Lisette, and Ernst. Konrad quickly becomes disillusioned by the war in his infantry experiences on the Russian front, where his friend Neff soon dies. Ernst works as a research scientist, enjoys testing rockets and is acquainted with Von Braun. Lisette stays with Mady and Joseph, caring for several misfit, handicapped children at their "Ramah Cabin" in the countryside near Berlin. Konrad in particular changes his views, providing lots of angst (for the reader as well as other characters) as the former killer determines a new, non-violent approach. But just how far can or should he take his new vow to never again kill, when he also needs to protect his friends?

The 1989 Prologue story continues from the first book, tantalizing the reader with a few more clues to the characters' future fate. The prologue also makes more sense after reading the full novel -- which introduces more of the characters who will be reunited years later. Yet, though the intriguing, but short, 1989 story leaves a cliffhanger, His Watchful Eye appears to wrap things to a close. So a third book in this series appears uncertain. The combination of past events and the meeting at the Berlin Wall build strong curiosity, in any case. What happens next to our friends, after World War II and during those Cold War years in communist East Germany?

His Watchful Eye follows in the great style of Cavanaugh’s historical fiction, with an interesting and adventurous story supported by characters with strong friendships, and even some romance. The war without, and a personal, determined enemy keep the suspense building up toward a strong finale as Allied troops approach Berlin in the spring of 1945.

Friday, November 1, 2002

The Hope Before Us: Conclusion to World War II Series

Elyse Larson's "Women of Valor" series concludes with its third installment, The Hope Before Us.

Set in France during the fall of 1944, this book looks at France shortly after the Occupation, the early days of liberation. The war is not over yet, and indeed the characters see action that would later be known as the "Battle of the Bulge," but the Germans are generally on the run. Into this setting come Marge and Em Emerson, two sisters ages 24 and 22, from Oklahoma. Marge is a nurse recently assigned to a hospital near the front lines, in France near Belgium. Em works as a press correspondent in Paris, but soon takes on additional employment with the OSS, or Secret Services.

Marge's life gives the view at the front lines -- the horrors of war, including its impact on civilians. Yet she meets David, who as a conscientious objector serves as a medic, and is inspired by his godly attitude.

Em lives the life of danger, often taking chances in her drive to get good stories -- which she usually does. Through her the reader learns about the many risks taken by ordinary citizens of France as they worked for the Resistance movement. With her winsome style, she even witnesses the beauty of the Alps by bicycle as she traces routes taken across enemy lines.

The story alternates between Marge's nurse work and Em's adventures, providing more romance in Marge's story and more edge-of-your-seat adventure through Em's life. After establishing Marge's routine life, as contrasted with Em's journalistic adventures, action builds for an exciting, tense climax when the two sisters are united and together perform a daring rescue.

History covered includes the war in Europe from the fall of 1944 until January of 1945, a time when the Nazis continue retreating from France. The Allies have liberated much of France and now push into Belgium as well as into Germany, winning Aachen in October. But then the Germans pushed back in December, suddenly reclaiming areas previously liberated, in what would become known as the Battle of the Bulge.

Though the last in a three-part series, The Hope Before Us reads as a stand-alone novel. The previous two books in the series featured different main characters, and now a new set of "women of valor" are introduced for this separate story. After reading this book, I look forward to the previous two books, and wish there could be additional stories. With the two sisters still involved in the war at the book's end, January 1945, so much more could still be told.

Tuesday, October 1, 2002

Ceridwen of Kilton, by Octavia Randolph

Reviewed by Lauren O'Brien (Reprinted by permission of the author

Ceridwen of Kilton follows the events surrounding Ceridwen, a young woman who has come to live in the village of Kilton after rescuing her husband (part of the Kilton ruling family) from the Danes - the most feared and hated of people in 9th Century England. Gyric, Ceridwen's husband, is the younger son of the Lord of Kilton, and as his wife, Ceridwen has responsibilities to the village. She attends these with care, though you get the impression she is unsure in her position in the village - being something of an outsider. This is the story of Ceridwen's life in the village for about 5 years. We see her love for her husband, maimed by his captors and unfit to take leadership of his home or his people, and his bitterness at his condition. We see passion and anguish in Ceridwen's relationships with the men from her past and present and from her compassion. There is also action a-plenty as the people of Kilton struggle to preserve their homes and lives while supporting the King of England. The characters in "Ceridwen of Kilton" are many and quite diverse, but each is represented with precision and care. These are possibly the most convincing I've come across. Ms Randolph has a rare talent for bringing her characters to life - these are real people. Each character has their own distinct emotions and motivations. Ceridwen, the character we grow to know the best has deep and conflicting thoughts. She has flashes of insight and moments of deep confusion. There are no dramatic flourishes from any of the characters - Ms Randolph has managed to bring the story and the personalities out through small gestures and human emotion. And for me, this subtlety is one of the best aspects of the book.

Another excellently handled area was the historical accuracy. I doubt that a historian would have anything to quibble over with regards to the accuracy. Different from the usual offering of sappy Dark-Age 'historical' tales, this really is a work of art. The interesting, if small conflicts between the church and the people's close Pagan past are handled with intelligence and were down to earth. I was unable to put this book down after the first chapter. I shall certainly be buying the next book in the series and would certainly recommend Ms Randolph as someone to look out for. Full marks all round." -Lauren O'Brien, Hampshire, United Kingdom contains more information about all Octavia Randolph's fiction and her factual essays about the Anglo-Saxon and Viking eras

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Highland Mercies: Blue Ridge Legacy Continues

Gary Parker's "Blue Ridge Legacy" continues the story of Abby Porter, who in the first book, Highland Hopes, grew up in the Blue Ridge mountains of western North Carolina in the early 20th century. Now Abby continues her story immediately where it left off, in the fall of 1929. After seeing some closure in the first book -- Abby reconciled to her father just before his death, and Daniel getting the money to buy back the family land -- the Porter clan is thrown into chaos. The Great Depression has arrived even in Blue Springs, and quickly all the Porter members lose their life savings when the banks fail.

As with the first book, Highland Mercies captures the heart and spirit of the proud Highlanders. In this book, which tells of the years 1929 to 1945, modern life has caught up even to the folk of Blue Ridge, with all the conveniences of cars, electricity and telephones. A time and place reminiscent of "The Waltons," the rural Highlanders face Prohibition, hard economic times, and then the shock of Pearl Harbor and World War II.

Yet even more so than the background setting, the characters themselves enrich Highland Mercies. Once again, Parker's characters exhibit great depth and show clear contrasts in how they respond to life's problems. Abby Porter Waterbury matures, no longer the ambitious young person determined to forever leave Blue Springs and make something of her life. Now, as she faces marital problems and raising two boys to adulthood, Abby realizes that a time must come to give up her own dreams so that others can enjoy theirs. Her faith is more mature and real now, not a mere emotional experience at conversion (yet which showed little evidence in her life). The hard times in her own life mirror that of the country mired in the Depression, and now her true character comes through, one depending on God to care for her and her loved ones.

Just as the hard times prove Abby's heart of faith, so they will test other characters, and find them wanting. Abby's husband Steve, who already showed signs of weakness in the first novel, not surprisingly develops even greater problems when demand for lawyers dries up. Daniel Porter, married with young children, at first seems able to withstand the hardships. After all, he has always been able to take care of himself and family as long as he could work hard. He never had a problem with being lazy or taking to "the doublings" (liquor). Yet as the years and problems accumulate, Daniel seems unable to let go of the past, such as his dream to buy back the land. Perhaps his confidence has been in himself, not in God, and now the temptation of alcohol rings stronger.

Other characters are back, including the ever-troublesome Clack family, for more clan conflict. Abby's stepmother Elsa, and half-brother Solomon (Elsa's son) have larger roles as well, and it is exciting to follow their lives through the years. Appropriately enough, too, Abby's sons become part of the story in later years, perhaps setting the stage for the next book in this enriching series. Highland Mercies is a strong follow-up in the "Blue Ridge Legacy," and I look forward to the next book in the series.

Sunday, September 1, 2002

The Crown and the Crucible: Czarist Russia

After reading Judith Pella's recent Written on the Wind, I was curious to read more of the author's work, especially about Russia -- a prominent feature in this new "Daughters of Fortune" series. "The Russians" is a seven-volume series featuring Pella's earlier writings about of Russia. Written by Michael Phillips and Judith Pella, this series begins with The Crown and the Crucible, in 1870s St. Petersburg. Through two teenage girls, one of nobility and one peasant, the authors explore the world of Czarist Russia.

Sixteen-year-old Anna Yevnovna, peasant from a small village, must leave her home to work in the city. She soon finds herself hired as personal maid to the spoiled 15-year-old Katrina Fedorcenko. Yet through their experiences together, both girls grow to maturity and greater understanding of the world around them.

Russia under the Czars is an uncertain place, amidst changing times. The current Czar, Alexander II, is portrayed as weak and indecisive -- the latest of the rich heritage of the Romanov dynasty and its greater past rulers. Yet, we learn, even in pre-Socialist Russia people had to guard their words, lest they offend the Czar; and censorship of the press did not originate with the later Soviet Union. Tragic political events of the late 1870s, though, would pave the way for events of the next 40 years, culminating in the Russian Revolution. Thus, we see a glimpse of the nation's underlying problems. Through an interesting story about Anna and Katrina and their families, the authors introduce a wealth of information about Russia's history, culture, and politics. An introductory section (about 30 pages) tells Russia's history back to its beginnings, and maps show the Russian Empire of this time.

Yet it is the people themselves, and a strong story, that conveys the sense of Russia far more than a dry history text could. We meet Anna's humble, Christian father, of the old peasant world -- in contrast to Anna's younger brother Paul, angry, discontent, and anxious to change the world, meeting with other pre-revolutionaries. Among the nobility we see the spoiled, self-centered Katrina who takes her sheltered life for granted, contrasted with her poetic, sensitive older brother Sergei. Yet even the wealthy have their hardships; due to recent reforms, including the serfs' (peasants) liberation from slavery, sons of nobility must fight Russia's wars alongside lower classes of men. Their fathers, though close associates of the Czar, live in fear of the Czar's temper and moodiness, never sure of where they stand or of who might politically back-stab them.

The Crown and the Crucible is an excellent beginning to a 7-part saga about the people of Russia in an uncertain, tumultuous period of history, with great historical background and interesting characters.

Thursday, August 15, 2002

Heart of India: William Carey's India

Heart of India, a three-volume historical fiction story by Linda Chaikin, takes place in 1790s India, in the days of British rule. The three books -- Silk, Under Eastern Stars, and Kingscote -- tell a story about Coral Kendall, heirress to a silk plantation in northern India. A Christian fascinated by the recent work of William Carey (missionary to India), Coral adopts an orphaned Indian baby -- believed to be an Untouchable, the lowest caste in India. She and the young child become very close, until tragedy comes when the boy is abducted -- and a body shows up later. But did Gem in fact die? Coral never forgets, and tries to discover the truth and get her child back.

This problem and its resolution cover all three books, a true three-in-one story rather than three separate stories in a series as is usually done. Added into the mix is a villain, Coral's Uncle Hugh Roxbury, determined to stop Coral's plans for a school, and other Indians opposed to her plans to start a missionary school for the poor Indian children.

A love triangle soon emerges as well, with Coral's heart torn between Dr. Ethan Boswell, whom the family expects her to marry, and the adventurous, sometimes-military Major Jace Buckley. As the story unfolds, their true characters are revealed, for an interesting and entertaining reading filled with suspense, deceit and betrayed trusts, and romance.

The historical backdrop includes brief meetings with John Newton, writer of "Amazing Grace" and a retired preacher in Olney, England by this time. The characters also discuss William Carey and his family, and so we learn of his wife's illness as well as his son Felix's later work. Other background information includes political discussions, sometimes confusing with the many geographical references and different warring groups. To help understand such references, the books include a basic map of India at the front, and a glossary of common India terms used. Thus we learn the difference between a ghari (a carriage) and a ghazi (political or religious radical).

The minor characters also develop and grow during the three books. Coral's two sisters are first seen as superficial and worldly, but later we see older sister Katherine mature. Younger sister Marianne also shows her devotion to Coral.

The "Heart of India" trilogy is fascinating and enjoyable historical fiction, with great adventure and romance against the backdrop of India during the time of William Carey’s missionary work.

Thursday, August 1, 2002

His Majesty's Envoy: Young George Washington

The Neophyte Warrior series, by Richard Patton, tells the life of young George Washington during the French and Indian war in the 1750s: a lesser-known period of Washington’s life and great story material. The first book in the series, His Majesty’s Envoy, introduces the 21-year-old Major and his early career, covering the time period from December 1753 through April of 1754 and events leading up to the French and Indian war.

Primarily a story based on Washington’s life, His Majesty’s Envoy expands from the known record with interesting characters who depict the actual French, Indian, and Colonial English involved in the conflict. Several scenes explain the politics of the war and the positions held by each side, and subplots explore the characters’ relationships and how the impending conflict may affect them. As the first in a series, the book ends rather abruptly, anticipating the next volume of the continuing story.

Though it starts out slowly, His Majesty’s Envoy soon builds interest through the characters and the rich historical background of this little known time period. The 21-year-old Washington himself seems nothing like the Revolutionary War era leader; of course hindsight makes it all the more interesting. The story expands also into Washington’s personal life, including his friendship with the flirtatious young Sally (Mrs. Sarah Cary Fairfax), who was married to his friend (and based on actual correspondence from Washington the following year, 1755).

Of particular interest, the author follows the Indian naming tradition, correlating the characters and how their names describe their true personality. One young Indian decides to change his name from "Sinking Canoe" to "Striking Eagle," though the name change seems inappropriate to his friend who insists on keeping his own birth name. Among the Colonial English, a young man named Pariah truly lives up to the meaning of his name.

His Majesty’s Envoy is a good beginning to what promises to be a solid historical fiction series, with strong character development and an in-depth look at the French and Indian War.

Monday, July 15, 2002

The Maiden of Mayfair: An Orphan's Story in Victorian England

Lawana Blackwell’s novel, The Maiden of Mayfair (first in the Tales of London series), tells a heartwarming story about a young girl living in an orphanage in the slums of London in 1870. Thirteen-year-old Sarah Matthews is suddenly sent away to live with a wealthy elderly woman in the Mayfair district.

Mrs. Blake is hardly the Daddy Warbucks type, and Sarah a far cry from Orphan Annie. Sarah is a rather shy girl, quite content to live in the St. Matthews’ Methodist Home – the only home she has ever known – and can’t understand why she has been sent away. Other girls she knows would much more enjoy living in a real home. However, Mrs. Blake wishes to make amends for past mistakes, and believes Sarah to be her granddaughter. Only problem is, the real grandchild died in infancy, so the Orphanage director provides Sarah as a substitute.

Both Mrs. Blake and Sarah face of scorn – of Sarah’s presumed illegitimacy – from Mrs. Blake’s friends. Sarah has much to lose as well, if her true identity is discovered. Through the years Sarah comes to enjoy a wonderful life, including friendship with Mrs. Blake’s household servants, including Naomi, the cook and a close confidant of Dorothea Blake.

The historical setting includes a favorable view of household servants and their day-to-day lives and relationships. Many of the characters enjoy reading Charles Dickens’ novels, and mourn the passing of the great author that summer of 1870. Through one of the characters we also learn of the many ways in which businesses preyed on consumers: bad food, ordinary liquids touted as miracle cures, and so on. Naomi, her nephew William, and Sarah also tour the cultural sites of 1870s London.

Throughout the story is a theme of compassion, forgiveness, and the joy that comes from loving and helping another. Mrs. Blake especially conveys the hope of one, once miserable over past failures, who finds this truth working its way in her life. The Maiden of Mayfair is a truly touching story, conveying compassion along with interesting characters. Though the first in the series, it reads and concludes as a single book with no loose ends. After a great first book, though, Lawana Blackwell fans can eagerly look forward to the next book, Catherine's Heart, scheduled for publication this fall (2002).

Monday, July 1, 2002

Freedom Trap: "Promise of Zion" Book 5

Robert Elmer's "Promise of Zion" series continues with the recently released 5th book, Freedom Trap. (The author announces in this book that the series will finish with the next book, True Betrayer.)

This book finds Emily on the island of Cypress, visiting the Jews at the refugee camp run by the British. Remembering a promise she made to Dov -- to do anything she could to find his parents -- she continues her search for Dov's mother. Dov, meanwhile, has returned to the Old City Jewish Quarter with his brother Natan. Arabs bomb the area daily, and soon Dov finds himself living in a crowded apartment with a Jewish family and nearly a dozen small girls from a nearby (now destroyed) orphanage. Soon we see a new side of Dov, who now considers others, not just himself. Somehow he must get the orphans to safety.

While the British pull up their final stakes, in a hurry to leave the area, the Arabs mercilessly attack the Jews--who will soon declare their new nation of Israel. Emily, too, sees the harsh reality along a highway from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem: cars and trucks wrecked everywhere along the road, and groups of Arabs from the hillsides above waiting to attack any more non-British vehicles.

As in the previous books, Elmer tells a thrilling action-adventure with great historical detail. This book introduces additional elements of 1948 Palestine, including life in the refugee camp, where the British have detained thousands of Jews who sought a new home in Israel. Though nothing like the Nazi concentration camps, conditions are harsh and many Jews die of diseases such as tuberculosis. Another historical detail, a hanging trolley run by cables above Jerusalem, provides an interesting plot-device (though the author notes that this train did not in fact exist until later that year).

Freedom Trap is another excellent book for young people, and a book that sparks interest in the real historical events of Israel's founding in the late 1940s.

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

"Promise of Zion" Series for Young Readers: Books 3 and 4

Previous reviews have told of the first two books in Robert Elmer’s "Promise of Zion" series. Now, a look at books three and four in the series:

In Refugee Treasure, the third book in Robert Elmer's "Promise of Zion" series for young readers, Dov Zalinsky wanders the streets of Jerusalem in search of his family. He soon meets an Arab Christian man, and finds himself involved with his new friend's problems. Mr. Bin-Jazzi has some newly discovered, ancient scrolls, and Arab men will stop at nothing to steal the scrolls. Dov finds many adventures as he explores Jerusalem and helps hide the scrolls.

Meanwhile, Emily Parkinson is back with her parents in Jerusalem. Many British families have already left the country due to the political problems, and now the Parkinsons want to send Emily away by the end of the year as well. Emily, though, does not want to leave what is, after all, her home; she hardly remembers her birth country. She also cannot stop thinking about Dov Zalinsky, and begins her own investigation to find the boy's parents.

Refugee Treasure shows the beginning signs of growth and maturity in the main two characters. Hardened, stubborn Dov is now more willing to accept help from others. Emily is no longer the naïve, trusting child who only believes what her daddy has told her. Now her eyes are opened more to the plight of Jews such as poor Dov and others less fortunate than she. Accordingly, the two children get along better when they finally meet again, having both matured through their experiences.

Whereas the previous book, Peace Rebel, covered a time period of less than two weeks, this third story covers the next few months, from September through November 1947. It is a turbulent period in Palestine, with the British announcing their withdrawal from the area that September. Then on November 29, 1947, the United Nations votes to allow a new state of Israel. Dov and Emily are part of the adventure, a time of history making. Radio broadcasts in the story's background are taken from the actual words of those BBC broadcasts. The Dead Sea Scrolls were also discovered this same year, and a minor character is introduced who in fact had the scrolls in his care during this time period.

The fourth book in the "Promise of Zion" series, Brother Enemy, continues the ongoing story of Dov Zalinski and Emily Parkinson, thirteen-year-olds in Palestine in the late 1940s.

Several months have passed since the day the UN voted for a state of Israel, and Arab violence against the Jews has escalated. In the spring of 1948, Dov sneaks over to the Wailing Wall – in Arab disguise – and still encounters trouble. Jews are no longer safe in the Arab quarter, where Dov once lived with Mr. Bin-Jazzi, an Arab Christian. Soon Dov finds himself back in the Jewish quarter, working with the Hagenah, the Jewish volunteer army. Then he gets involved with radio technology and broadcasts for Israel’s cause, while continuing his search for his older brother, Natan.

Emily, previously determined to stay in Jerusalem, watches as the city she loves erupts in violence that touches her own life as well. Her mother lives in fear, never leaving their house, and Emily is forced to realize her own selfishness – and how she can make her mother happy. Thus she comes to accept the inevitable of going "home" to England.

Historic events in Brother Enemy include an urban bombing near a shopping center – based on two actual bombings from the time – as well as the Hagenah’s battle against Arabs near a small town.

Both Refugee Treasure and Brother Enemy are enjoyable and educational. The stories provide great action adventure with a rich historical setting, complete with author notes and suggestions for learning more about the historical period.

Saturday, June 1, 2002

Angel of Mercy: Kit Shannon in 1904

Tracie Peterson and James Scott Bell's "Shannon Saga" series concludes with the third book, Angel of Mercy, published this June. Angel of Mercy finds Kit Shannon embroiled in yet another high-profile murder case, this time during the summer of 1904. Officer Ed Hanratty, one of the bad guys from the previous book (Angels Flight) is accused of murder, and insists that only Kit Shannon can represent him. Kit reluctantly takes the case, unconvinced of her client's innocence, but determined to see justice done and a fair hearing for her client. As always, the city's influential are against her and pressure her to stop the case.

The main characters from previous books are still here, plus a few new fictional as well as historical characters. William Randolph Hearst, successful newspaper tycoon and now presidential hopeful, has decided to compete against the Los Angeles Times with his new paper, the Examiner, and use his yellow journalism to influence politics in another city. President Teddy Roosevelt even makes a few visits to LA, and Kit soon meets both famous men. Clarence Darrow (see review of Angels Flight) makes a brief appearance at the beginning, in a debate arranged in the previous book between him, Kit Shannon, and liberal Christian Dr. Lazarus. Kit's friend and mentor Earl Rogers, a renowned lawyer from the time, is back as well to encourage Kit and even defend her at court occasionally.

Among the fictional characters, Tom Phelps now works for William Randolph Hearst. Elinor Wynn, previously engaged to Ted Fox, now strives for revenge against Kit Shannon. Ted Fox returns as well, still sorting through his emotional problems. Ted and Kit's feelings for each other, and Ted's struggle with his disability (in the previous book he lost a leg) provide interesting subplots, though fans realize by now that somehow Ted and Kit will get together in the end. Aunt Freddy once again looks to spiritualists and attaches herself to a money-grubbing charlatan, and Kit feels she must protect her aunt. Enemy Heath Sloate resurfaces from the first book (City of Angels), just as sleazy and controlling as ever, and working behind the scenes to destroy Kit Shannon. Among such a hectic and troublesome life, Kit has a few friends, such as her Mexican friend Corazon. Corazon's role is expanded as she shows detective skills and becomes Kit's investigator / detective.

Like the first two books in the "Shannon Saga," the storyline is exciting and suspenseful, a good page-turner with a final rousing trial scene full of surprises. At a little over 250 pages, Angel of Mercy is much shorter than the first two books (both of which had 380 pages). Still, this book pulls-off another exciting read while wrapping up the loose ends of the ongoing sub-plots between the characters for the "Shannon Saga" conclusion.

Saturday, May 11, 2002

The Mayflower Secret: Introducing the Pilgrims to Young People

The Mayflower Secret, a Trailblazer Series book, tells a story of 13-year-old Elizabeth Tilley and her experiences as she comes to New England on the Mayflower in 1620. Along the way, readers are introduced to Governor William Bradford as well as many interesting details about the early years of the Plymouth colony. For example, the Pilgrims did not call themselves by that name, but rather as "Brethren." Often the story refers to the group as "Separatists," but never Pilgrims.

The Pilgrim leaders, plus Captain Standish, Squanto and Samoset are all featured. In fact, the names of the characters -- with one exception noted in the book introduction -- all refer to actual people from the Mayflower: names such as Edward Winslow, the Brewsters, Governor Carver, and children including Humility and Henry Cooper. The characters also talk in the old-English, King James style language, for a more authentic feel. As depicted in the book, an actual Elizabeth Tilley became orphaned after her parents died that first winter; and she married John Howland when she was 16, in 1623.

During the voyage across the ocean, Elizabeth sees the unhappy Dorothy Bradford, William Bradford's wife, on deck late one night. The next day she learns that the woman is missing, presumed drowned -- and blames herself for not saying anything or trying to save Dorothy. How can she ever face Governor Bradford, with this terrible secret?

Most of the story is in fact the overall story of the Pilgrims, with minor attention to Elizabeth's secret. The girl's growing feelings for John Howland, and uncertainty over her place in the colony, add further detail to personalize the experience for young people. As a story that features relatively little action, and emphasis on a girl's feelings, The Mayflower Secret would likely appeal more to young girls than boys. Such readers, though, should enjoy learning about the early Pilgrims, in this informative "Trailblazer Series" book.

Sunday, April 21, 2002

The Distant Beacon: Acadians and the American Revolution

Janette Oke and T. Davis Bunn's "Song of Acadia" series continues with The Distant Beacon, book four in the series. The story begun in 1753 with The Meeting Place now tells the adventures of the two girls, who were switched as infants. Anne, the French child raised by Catherine and Andrew Harrow in Nova Scotia, now lives in England with her new husband. Nicole, the Harrow’s daughter raised by the Robichauds in New Orleans, now returns from England to Nova Scotia and then Massachusetts.

Anne’s story has been told in the previous books (The Sacred Shore, The Birthright), and so The Distant Beacon focuses almost exclusively on Nicole. Nicole has come to faith in Christ, but still harbors many insecurities. She still feels troubled, in part due to an unfortunate romantic incident in her past. She now loves Captain Gordon Goodwind of the British merchant navy, but holds back – for he does not know God.

Nicole has inherited land in the Massachusetts colony, as well as great wealth and title – the Viscountess Lady Harrow. Meanwhile, the colonies are at war with the British. It is 1776, and British forces occupy Boston but not the countryside. Throughout their dealings with both sides of the conflict, Nicole as well as Goodwind and his men find they must choose their allegiances.

The Distant Beacon begins at a steady, uneventful pace as it explores Nicole and her troubled thoughts. Later, like the flow of the first book, the action picks up for a story less focused on Nicole’s problems and more on an exciting adventure and great deeds the characters perform. A fairly short book -- only 270 pages -- The Distant Beacon thus provides an enjoyable read; not too prolonged at the outset, with all the strong elements of a historical romance – the rich historical setting, action, and themes of love, bravery, allegiance, honor and betrayal.

Thursday, April 11, 2002

Rivers of Gold: Conclusion of Tracie Peterson's Yukon Quest

The second part of "Yukon Quest," Ashes and Ice, left our Yukon friends separated, relationships broken. Miranda Colton fell from a boat during a storm, presumed dead. Due to miscommunication, Peter and his parents think they lost Grace, not Miranda.

Rivers of Gold begins with such circumstances and quickly adds a few twists, for a hard-to-put-down story filled with several timing incidents in which the friends almost find each other. Then the pieces all fall into place, for a nice conclusion that neatly ties all the loose ends for a "happily ever after" historical romance.

While the first novel focused on Grace Hawkins and the second on Karen Pierce, Rivers of Gold brings Miranda to the foreground. She did not die in the river after all, but was rescued by a British man and an older Indian woman. Teddy Davenport is a botanist, researching the plant life of the Yukon. He plans to publish a book of his findings, his way of continuing his father's work and legacy. Thus he has no time for "interruptions" such as the young woman that showed up at his cabin. Miranda, meanwhile, is determined to find her friends and let them know she is okay. Through their time spent together, though, Teddy and Miranda fall in love.

The story takes place in 1899, and the characters note the changes in the area: how different things are from when they arrived during the gold rush hey-day two years ago. Just as quickly as the gold seekers came, the now depart. Many have given up their dream of gold and desperately try to sell their equipment. Others are heading for Nome, Alaska, where gold has just been discovered, hoping again to strike it rich.

The bulk of the action takes place in and around Dawson, Yukon, the town the group was heading for in the previous book. Villain Martin Paxton is now gone, and so a new villain is supplied, from a minor character introduced in Ashes and Ice. This enemy is more realistic than Paxton, does not occupy the full story, and reflects the all-too-true violence and greed of the gold rush days.

Brief mention is made of historical events, including a fire in Dawson made worse by the firemen's strike, and the celebration for Queen Victoria. Overall, though, Rivers of Gold is a story about the people we have come to love from the previous two books and how their lives and problems finally fall into place. The characters learn of the true "rivers of Gold" -- faith in God and the joy of loved ones. Through trials and temptations of gold, the characters learn what really brings peace and riches; the gold that so many seek will not satisfy.

Monday, April 1, 2002

A Way Through The Sea: Denmark Children During World War II

A Way Through The Sea begins Robert Elmer’s “The Young Underground” series for young readers (ages 8-13). The Andersen twins, Peter and Elise, have experienced German soldiers in their hometown of Helsingor, Denmark since they were eight years old. It has been three years since the Germans invaded (1940), with no sign of the war ending. Life goes on, as normal as possible, but the adults seem nervous, as does the twins’ Jewish friend, Henrik Melchior. The Danish Jews have escaped the persecution of other European countries – so far. But that situation will soon change.

Throughout the first part of the book, eleven-year-olds Peter, Elise and Henrik enjoy carefree summer days. Often they ride their bicycles across town and release their three pigeons for “pigeon races” to see which bird is the fastest. Peter and Henrik send Morse code signals by flashlight at nighttime, though the Nazi presence makes such games more dangerous. Peter also enjoys visiting his grandfather and Uncle Morten, who operate a fishing boat at the coast. Sweden is just a few miles across the sea, visible from the Denmark coast, but Peter and Elise have never even been out in the fishing boat.

Peter considers himself a Lutheran, in the patriotic tradition – after all, they attend church every Christmas and Easter. Still, he notices that Uncle Morten, who attends a small church every week, is different. Then the children see Uncle Morten having a secret meeting with a Swedish man. He must be working with the Underground Resistance.

In late September 1943, the Nazis decided to round up all the Denmark Jews – about 7,000. But in a remarkable, oft-forgotten true World War II story, the Danish people learned of the plan two days in advance. Unlike the Europeans in other conquered lands, all Denmark’s citizens banded together to rescue their Jewish neighbors and help them escape to Sweden. As related in A Way Through The Sea and the epilogue (historical notes), most of the Jews in fact escaped – Hitler was furious! Peter, Elise and Henrik find their own harrowing adventures in the midst of this terrible time, as they take direct action to send Henrik to Sweden.

The first in a series, A Way Through The Sea sets the groundwork for many more adventures for the Andersen twins. Henrik Melchior later appears in the second book of Elmer’s “Promise of Zion” series, as a 15-year-old in 1947 Palestine. The name Melchior, by the way, may come from an actual person in Denmark history; Rabbi Dr. Marcus Melchior was among those who took action in September 1943.

Friday, March 22, 2002

Written on the Wind: New Judith Pella Series

Written on the Wind introduces a new Judith Pella series, "Daughters of Fortune." It is 1941 Los Angeles, and the Hayes family has three young-adult daughters -- but alas, as far as father Keagan Hayes is concerned, no sons. The cold, harsh and domineering Keagan has even given boys' names to his daughters: Cameron, Blair, and Jackie. Not surprisingly, the daughters yearn for their father's approval and acceptance, the one thing they can never have.

Oldest daughter Cameron, age 24, enjoys a career as a journalist -- courtesy of her father's newspaper. Yet she determines to make it on her own, and quits the job to go work at a competitor's newspaper. Soon she finds herself on assignment in Europe, and then (her biggest dream) the Soviet Union. Through Cameron we experience Stalin's Russia, under siege by Hitler during the summer and fall of 1941. Due to the immediate crisis, Stalin has allowed American journalists in the country. The Soviet Union, though, is still under Stalin's grip, a closed society that finds it must become allies with the likes of Churchill and the U.S. The Communist country frustrates the journalists, who can never report the real news but merely translate whatever is printed in the Soviet's official paper, Pravda. Russian citizens stay away from foreigners, fearful for their lives. Hotels, factories and other buildings are of second-rate quality, in disrepair -- in sharp contrast to the U.S.

Cameron is all action, ready to grab the latest story -- maybe even win a Pulitzer! But as she tells fellow journalist and friend Johnny Shanahan, she thinks she can experience the war without it affecting her. Soon she becomes involved with the Russian people, and faces the terrible consequences that come about from such involvement, due to the strict government. Cameron finds her own walls coming down, though, to let people into her life, and feels torn between two friends -- Johnny Shanahan and Alex, a Russian doctor. She also must come to terms with her father and their estranged relationship, while discovering what it is she really wants in life.

The younger two daughters have minor roles, with enough problems of their own. Blair enjoys the Hollywood party scene, and soon discovers she can easily act out a pretend life. Her double-life deceives a man she comes to love. But will her house of lies be discovered? What then?

Jackie functions as the family peacemaker, the only "normal" one of the family. A Christian, she attends UCLA, where she develops a friendship with a Japanese-American man. Though Pearl Harbor is still months away, prejudice still abounds; Jackie's society will never accept such relationships between white and Asian people.

Written on the Wind is an enjoyable read through early World War II and its impact on the Hayes family, especially Cameron. The characters are portrayed realistically and deal with deep issues that bring lasting change and maturity. Obviously established as the first in a series, the book leaves many loose ends to hold the reader in suspense, awaiting the sequel.

Thursday, February 7, 2002

Peace Rebel: Young Teen “Promise of Zion” Continues

Robert Elmer’s Peace Rebel picks up the exciting story begun in Promise Breaker, this time focusing more directly on Dov Zalinski and Emily Parkinson. Dov is finally in Palestine, having been pushed off his ship and rescued from the waters by Emily Parkinson. Before long, the two children are gathered and sent with other refugees to a kibbutz (Jewish farm).

Emily is quite upset at being separated from her father and having to suffer the humiliating experiences of illegal Jews. Indignant and impatient, she tries to take matters into her own hands when it seems no one else will help take her back to her parents. However, she soon gets more than she expected and finds her life in danger.

Dov quickly becomes restless with life at the kibbutz, and also seeks a way out, to find his long-lost parents in Jerusalem. His anger and stubbornness often get the best of him, pulling him away from those who try to help him. Dov’s and Emily’s experiences pull them together, to friendship in spite of their differences.

Peace Rebel introduces new characters while omitting several main characters from the previous book, such as Emily’s parents and other relatives. Henrik Melchior, a Danish boy about 15 or 16, enjoys life on the kibbutz. A friendly, outgoing boy who tries to help Dov and Emily, Henrik is a Jewish Christian with a heart for Jewish refugees, desiring to tell them of the “Peace Rebel,” Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus). Readers of Robert Elmer’s previous children’s series, “The Young Underground,” will enjoy this follow-up about Henrik, one of the main characters in that World War II series.

Other interesting characters in Peace Rebel include a group of American tourists, an event based on an actual visit by such tourists to the Holy Land in 1947. This story includes more background about the Jewish terrorists of the time, who sought violent means to force Britain’s hand and allow Jews to come to Israel. Along the way, Dov is tempted. Should he follow the way of peace, or the way of war and violence?

Peace Rebel brings another exciting action-packed episode to the “Promise of Zion” series, with another cliff-hanging end to be picked up in a third book. Currently the first four books in this series have been published, with a 5th one due out in March 2002.

Friday, February 1, 2002

Promise Breaker: A Young Teen Look at Israel in 1947

Robert Elmer’s “Promise of Zion” series for pre-teens and young teenagers tells the story of Israel becoming a nation shortly after World War II. It is Europe and Palestine, 1947, and many Jews that survived the holocaust find themselves unwelcome in many European countries. Many end up in displaced persons camps, and Palestine’s allure is strong. The British rule the place of so much controversy, and use their military might to keep illegal immigrants out. But a few still manage to sneak into the country.

Promise Breaker, the first book in the series, introduces 13-year-old Dov Zalinski, a Polish Jew abandoned by his parents at the outbreak of World War II, when he was only 5. Years of life in an orphanage, followed by Nazi work camps, have hardened the boy, who trusts no one and insists he can get by on his own. His parents long ago promised that the family would move to Jerusalem. Now, stuck in a camp for displaced orphans, Dov decides to run away and find his family, whether they be in Warsaw or Jerusalem.

Emily Parkinson, also age 13, has lived in Jerusalem with her family since age 5. The only child of British Major Parkinson, Emily is spoiled and demanding. She always knows how to get what she wants from her father, but this year her actions will get her into more problems than her father can rescue her from.

The action-adventure story alternately follows the lives of Dov and Emily, showing both sides of the difficult situation. Through Dov, we encounter the Mossad, a Jewish group which sent its agents throughout Europe, helping Jews travel to “Eretz Israel,” and the difficulties that Jewish traveling groups faced. Emily’s father portrays the hard-line British military stance, determined to stop the immigrant ships. Fiery-tempered and lacking compassion, he assumes that all the incoming Jews are violent and connected with recent terrorism, such as hotel bombings. To make for interesting family relationships, the Major’s brother, Anthony, is married to a Jewish Christian woman. Emily unquestioningly trusts her father, yet wonders at things she sees at Uncle Anthony’s home.

The action-packed story never lets up, with an entertaining story suitable for pre-teens and young teens, showing life for holocaust survivors --without the many horrifying events of the death camps. Dov clearly suffers, trying hard not to remember the past. The author adds interesting background notes at the end, telling which parts of the story are true, and sources for further information. The character of Dov Zalinski was based on many events that happened to an actual Jewish Holocaust survivor, and the author interviewed him in preparation for the “Promise of Zion” series.

Tuesday, January 8, 2002

The Winds of God: Queen Elizabeth and the Spanish Armada

Christian Historical Fiction readers will enjoy Gilbert Morris' series, 'The Wakefield Dynasty', which covers four centuries of English history in the seven book series. The second book, The Winds of God, continues the story of the Wakefield family in 16th century England.

Through Myles and Robin, the reader meets many historical figures, including Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, Mary Queen of Scots, and Sir Francis Walsingham. Interesting historical details include the attempted coup to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne instead of Mary; also Mary's Catholic ambitions, marriage to Philip of Spain, and her jealousy of half-sister Elizabeth. Later years of the story bring forth Elizabeth's flamboyant personality and her eccentricities. The reader learns of Elizabeth's belief in the Divine Right of Kings, a belief held so strongly that she protected Mary the ex-Queen of Scots for many years. The ever-ambitious and treacherous Mary Queen of Scots continually plots against Elizabeth. The dark, seductive side of Mary is exposed to Robin, who like most men finds her hard to resist, at least while in her presence.

Historical fiction readers will appreciate the realistic characters. Though The Winds of God includes a few strong female characters, including Queen Elizabeth herself, sixteenth century society still rules. Far from being mere transplants from the late-twentieth century, the women behave within the bounds of their time. For example, when English Catholic parents arrange a marriage for their daughter to a wealthy older Spanish man, the girl quietly obeys her parents. Though desperately unhappy and in love with an English man, her options are limited. The marriage turns out to have serious problems, yet the young woman honors her marriage commitment before God.

Gilbert Morris, the most prolific of today's Christian historical fiction writers, brings an exciting tale of this important transitional time in England's history: a time of turning from Catholicism to Protestantism; when great military events brought about a change in world power, from Spain to the dawning empire of Great Britain. Yet it is also a story about compassion and forgiveness as seen through Robin Wakefield. The Catholic system and the Spanish Inquisition are to be reviled, but the people of Spain are ordinary, down-to-earth people with hopes, ambitions, and families of their own. Robin's discovery of this, and his hope in a God of compassion, who does not delight in the death of the wicked, brings the Wakefield family back to its proper focus. As with the first book, The Sword of Truth, this second book in the Wakefield Dynasty series is another enlightening and uplifting historical fiction novel.

Tuesday, January 1, 2002

Trailblazer Books: Great Historical Fiction for Children

The Trailblazer Series introduces young readers (ages 8 to 12) to many interesting historical figures, through stories in which children of the past interact with Christian heroes. Over thirty books by Dave & Neta Jackson bring the past to life, telling of well-known people such as Martin Luther and John Bunyan, along with "forgotten" heroes, missionaries and preachers who ministered to orphans. Two recent Trailblazer books, Roundup of the Street Rovers and Sinking the Dayspring, tell of mid-nineteenth century children involved with historical figures largely forgotten today.

Roundup of the Street Rovers features inner-city children, the street kids of New York City in 1854. Rev. Charles Loring Brace here began his work with the "Orphan Trains," a program in which thousands of homeless city children were placed in farm families in the Midwest, resulting in many productive, successful lives. Thirteen-year-old Kip O'Reilly is a likeable boy who makes his living by selling newspapers on street corners -- and occasional theft -- to help him and his younger friends get by. Lauren and Lena, ages ten and eight, have wealthy parents who have abandoned them. The Conner children come from a poor family, but soon find themselves orphaned when their mother dies and a stepfather abandons them. These and other children soon come under the care of the Children's Aid Society, which offers a hot meal, bed, and bath for ten cents a day, and helps the children find work to cover these basic costs. The Society also provides 'night school' classes, the only way that impoverished 19th century children could get an education, and job training workshops. Yet Reverend Brace felt that what these children needed most was a family; and as the story relates, an opportunity finally opens up to send the children to farm families in Michigan.

The hardships of street life are related in a light manner, as appropriate for children's literature, with entertaining dialogue and friendship among the children, while still relating the child's desire for a family, acceptance and love. The children's roles are realistic, too, unlike many of today's juvenile historical fiction stories that have children joining up with pirates and saving the world. Instead, children face real-life problems that they can solve, along with a moral lesson. Kip carves a wooden animal to cheer up a younger child; later he applies his knowledge of leather shoe-making, from Brace's workshop, to build something to help out an injured adult. Along the way Kip also faces the consequences of stealing, when he is caught and spends some time in jail. With Reverend Brace's help, Kip learns to tell the truth, quit stealing, and make amends for past theft.

Sinking the Dayspring tells of Christian missionaries in the South Sea Islands in the 1860s and 1870s. Scottish missionary John Paton raised money, through "stocks" of ownership, to build a missionary ship which would travel amongst the islands bringing needed supplies to the missionaries in the region. Australian Kevin Gilmore, thirteen, remembers the shares his mother purchased two years ago, and hopes to redeem them for money, to help his dying mother. He works on the docks, and when his mother dies finds himself living there. Imagine Kevin's excitement when he sees the Dayspring, which he is part owner, arrive at the dock. Kevin soon finds a job on the ship, though he fears the water and doesn't know how to swim. He meets adventure on board ship as well as on the islands, where he meets cannibalistic natives. Much like the situation with primitive tribes today, the natives of the South Sea Islands (then known as the New Hebrides) believe in the dark powers of witchcraft and demons. The real question is one of power, which God is more powerful.

Through these two books, the latest in the Trailblazers series, children learn history through well-written historical fiction stories. Notes at the beginning and end of each book give further information about the true story and the featured Christian hero, including a list of books "for further reading." Adults too can appreciate these books for a light, enjoyable read, plus a great way to introduce their children to historical fiction.

Additional sources:

Trailblazer books web site

A few "for further reading" items mentioned in the above books:

About Charles Brace and the Orphan Trains:
  • Brace, Charles Loring. The Dangerous Classes of New York and Twenty Years' Work Among Them. Montclair, New Jersey: Patterson Smith, 1967 (reprint).
  • Fry, Annette R. The Orphan Trains. New York: New Discovery Books, Macmillan Publishing Company, 1994.

About John Paton, from Sinking the Dayspring:
  • Bell, Ralph. John G. Paton. Butler, Indiana: Higley Press, 1957
  • Unseth, Benjamin. John Paton. Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1996.