Freedom. Safety. Love. Miranda vows to reclaim them–for herself, and for her children.
A widow and mother of six, Miranda Hanford leads a quiet, private life. When the pastor of her close-knit church announces his plans to move the entire congregation to another state, Miranda jumps at the opportunity to dissolve ties with Mason Chandler and his controlling method of ruling his flock. But then Mason threatens to unearth secrets from her past, and Miranda feels trapped, terrified she’ll be unable to protect her children.
College professor Jack Hanford is more than surprised when he gets a call from his estranged sister-in-law’s oldest son, Timothy, informing him that Miranda has taken a serious fall and he has been named legal guardian of her children while she recovers. Quickly charmed by Miranda’s children, Jack brings some much-needed life into the sheltered household. But his constant challenging of the family’s conservative lifestyle makes the recovering mother uneasy and defensive—despite Jack’s unnerving appeal.
As Jack tries to make sense of the mysterious Miranda and the secrets she holds so tightly, Mason’s pressure on her increases. With her emotions stirring and freedom calling, can Miranda find a way to unshackle her family without losing everything?
I have to admit that I was a little concerned when I read the email from the publicist in which she told me that she was sending me a book that was popular with homeschool moms. I’m not exactly a traditional homeschool mom (notice I didn’t say “typical” – there is no such thing as a “typical” homeschool mom), so I started wondering exactly what was in this book.
No need to worry. This book represents most homeschoolers in a positive light. Miranda’s late husband has kept his family tightly under his control, and he in turn was kept in line by the leader of their church (read “cult”). The children were allowed no outside influences. This is not a healthy reason to homeschool and this author recognizes that and throughout the book, Jack slowly pulls Miranda and the children out into the world, without ever telling her she should put the kids in school. (Although I think there was one argument in which he told her she was doing her kids a great disservice by not teaching them certain subjects.)
As for the story, it’s at turns heartbreaking and heartwarming. Because of a past tragedy and circumstances beyond her control, Miranda lives under a cloud of fear and guilt. This is part of what allows the church leader to control her even after her husband is gone. Jack comes into their life, and even as the children warm to him and Miranda gets to see more and more of the God of grace and mercy that Jack serves, she still can’t completely let go. This book isn’t about homeschooling. It’s loving and trusting God and others and letting them love you.
My biggest issue with the book is a bit of a spoiler, and I usually don’t put spoilers in my reviews, but it’s something that really bothered me. As Jack and Miranda build a relationship, they become more affectionate to each other in front of the children. Obviously, they’re not doing anything inappropriate, but after reading through the book that for the past 14 years, she’s lived a very strict, pious life, and kept her kids in a bubble in which they were not even allowed to read fiction, I find it hard to believe that she would suddenly feel comfortable kissing a man in front of her children. It just felt out of character.
Over all, though, I did like the story… And I think other homeschool moms will, too. (Sorry. I couldn’t resist.)
Read an excerpt of the book.
About the book
Title: When Sparrows Fall
Author: Meg Moseley
Publisher: Multnomah Books
Release date: May 3, 2011
Where I got this book: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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