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Marie's Home

By Caroline Austin
Salem Ridge Press
4263 Salem Drive
Emmaus, PA 18049

Marie's Home is a 199-page softbound novel about the French Revolution. It was originally published in 1885 and was republished in 2006 by Daniel Mills, a homeschool graduate who learned to appreciate historical fiction as a teenager. In this book, an 11-year-old English girl is given a diary written by her great-grandmother. In it she reads a first-hand account of the days of the French Revolution. In the publisher's note we read, "For us the French Revolution happened in the distant past, but when Marie's Home was written, less than 100 years had elapsed since the Revolution. By having a present-day girl receive her great-grandmother's journal, the author, Caroline Austin, connected momentous events of the past with the lives of her readers. This also serves as a reminder to us that history happened to real people, people that are part of our own family's story, even though they lived a long time ago."

The back cover says this book is for ages ten to adult. If read aloud, it could be enjoyed by younger children too. Of particular interest to homeschool families is the fact that one of the secondary characters in the book, Marie's younger brother, is homeschooled during part of the story. His studies include Greek, Latin, mathematics, horseback riding, fencing, drawing, and French. Sounds fun!

Marie and her family exemplify Christian faith and values. Though they are members of the upper class, they step out of their comfortable surroundings to help those in need. And when they face danger, hardship, and disappointment, their faith in God gives them hope. The text contains some excellent lessons. Here is a gem of a quote from Marie's father on the subject of love: "We may love as deeply as we please, but we must not make a prisoner of our love. There is all the difference in the world between loving for our own sakes and loving for the sake of those we love. The first kind is of earth, the second of heaven."

Marie's Home is very much a girl's book, though boys may like it, too. If you like to enhance your history studies with historical fiction, this is one to strongly consider.

Product review by Kathy Gelzer, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, April 2007

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