Sunday, October 4, 2009

Review: Sarah Books

I love historical fiction. Getting swept up in a different time, a different world from my own, sends delicious tingles down my spine like nothing else. A well-written historical gem leaves me enchanted, dreamy-eyed, and lost in a state of unparalleled bliss.

The book, "Sarah's Wish", written by Jim Baumgardner does a good job at delivering a taste of exciting, historical fiction in a sweet little package.

Sarah's Wish is the first installment in a (currently) 3 book series. Set in 1858, the novel introduces readers to Sarah Smith, a recently orphaned 12 year old girl. Sarah is taken in by Granny Evans, a dear friend of her late mother who has quite the Southern accent. ;) (Love how she says things like "shore" instead of "sure" and "git" instead of "get". Nice touch of realism!)

Although Sarah misses her mother terribly, she "sucks it up" and continues her mother's work of helping slaves achieve freedom along the Underground Railroad.

Sarah's Wish whisks readers along a fast-paced tale filled with the ugly realities of slavery, harrowing escapes, gypsies and....butterflies. (*Grins*--That's all I'm going to say about those! You'll have to read it yourself to discover what that means. But I will say that it's really beautiful and made me tear up more than once.)

The story is filled with adventure, dangerous situations, and is a very quick read (Sierra and I each read it in less than an hour). The author doesn't go into sweeping detail nor provide adjective-riddled descriptions, which made reading a bit more difficult for me. (I'm a very visual person and like drawn-out descriptions when I read.) However, it's still a good book and one that we'd recommend to readers at a late-elementary to junior high level. A little side note: There are descriptions of blood, beatings, "whipping posts", etc. that--while accurate--are not for the faint of heart. I kinda had to skim over those parts as they just made me too squeamish on the inside. ;) My daughter Sierra on the other hand, had no such qualms.

And speaking of Sierra, her overall opinion is as follows: "The book was good, but it didn't go into enough detail for me. It moved along really fast and left me sorta "hanging" at times. Like "is that it?". Historical fiction isn't really my thing, but I liked it better than other historical novels I've read. I think girls who were ever into Little House books, horses, or studying civil rights, would appreciate this kind of book."

This book would also make a neat supplement to Black History Month activities within your homeschool.

Sarah's Wish is available for $9.99 through This and other "Sarah" titles are also available through But--this is really neat, listen up!--if you order from, Jim Baumgardner will personally autograph it, just for you! How cool is that?

Honestly, I was so impressed to find the autograph, complete with a pretty little butterfly sticker on the inside page of my review copy, that I was literally speechless. (No easy feat, lemme tell ya!) But about your personalized customer service! Wow!

In addition, each book comes with a coupon code to download the FREE audio version as well. (Instructions are found on the last page.)

Check out to read excerpts from the Sarah Books, learn more about the "mighty gentlemanly" author, and sign up for the nifty e-newsletter filled with all sorts of interesting activities, recipes, poems, and more.

We appreciated the book, Sarah's Wish for the quick, lively read that it is. Although we personally would've enjoyed more details, the story and presentation of historical content--however disturbing at times--was terrific.

Our family awards Sarah's Wish and Sarah Books 1.5 thumbs up.

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