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Canaan's Land Review by April Elstrom

John Evans

Canaan's Land is a paperback chapter book, self-published by John Evans. Set in the post-Civil War Reconstruction era, it is the story of a family moving from settled Eastern Texas to the challenging new frontier of Western Texas. During their journey, the family struggles with their own relational issues, the harsh desert, their faith, and Apache Indians.

John Evans is a former public school teacher who is now a homeschooler and preacher in San Antonio, Texas. His first novel, Canaan's Land, is a wonderful historical fiction book for the whole family. Although it was intended for middle school boys, it will appeal to everyone.

Canaan's Land captures your interest as you follow Joshua Lee and his parents (Truman and Hannah) into the desert. It is written from the viewpoint of 13 year old Joshua. Joshua is in the middle of his parents' different desires, different beliefs, and different ways of coping with difficulties.

Because Joshua's mother is a Christian and his father is not, there are moments of conflict that may bother some families. His parents' relational difficulties cause confusion and doubts for Joshua, as well. While I believe these issues were handled quite well, some families may want to preview the book before letting their children read it.

Canaan's Land is an excellent family read-aloud. Besides pioneer history, there are spiritual and relational lessons for each member of the family in this book.

Faith in God, love and respect for each other, and family unity are key lessons the Lee family learns on their journey to West Texas.

I enjoyed reading Canaan's Land very much. The story is compelling - your heart is drawn to the family and you are anxious for them to succeed. Our family will be reading Canaan's Land together, and looking forward to more novels by John Evans.

Product Review by April Elstrom, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May, 2009