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The Orphans of Mordecai's Castle - The Haven Review by Lyria Moore

By Cara Simmons
Xulon Press
2180 West State Road 434
Suite 2140
Longwood, FL 32779

The Orphans of Mordecai's Castle is the first in a three-part series of chapter books. It has 23 chapters for your child's reading delight. The characters are introduced within the first few pages. The preface gives a little of the back-story, telling how one of the orphans became an orphan. The first chapter jumps to the present, where the children are on a ship. Something happens to the ship, and the children are separated from their guardians. The children band together and look out for each other while they face new problems without any adult help. The children learn to rely on their faith in God and His love for them to get them through. A twist at the end of the tale shows how God has everything in His control and providence. His love wins out in the end!

This book would be perfect to use as a supplement to a reading program. Fluent readers will enjoy the mystery and adventure in this story. The chapters are kept short, and the story moves easily along. I wouldn't give this book to a child who is new to chapter books, but the length of this book will keep more experienced readers happily enthralled.

Because of some of the topics, the content of this story would appeal more to an older child. The theme of purity is addressed within the context of God's Word. The issues of a heart darkened by the love of money and the hatred and rebellion that spew from a heart of bitterness are addressed as well. Cara Simmons weaves the tale so well that the twists at the end really catch you by surprise. It makes you want to go back and read the whole story over again to see if you can catch any subtle hints leading up to the revelations. This book was so edifying! I'm eagerly awaiting the second and third installments in the series.

I am so thankful to Cara Simmons for writing this series. Stories about a child's strong faith in God need to be flooding our Christian bookstores, especially at the rate children are being bombarded by things not true to God. I remember all the outside helps that encouraged and reinforced my faith in God growing up. I never strayed from His love in my younger years, and I owe that faithfulness to His grace, mercy, and guidance. It was books like these that my mother introduced to me that made a difference and showed me that holding on to God is important. There weren't too many books like this when I was growing up, but praise the Lord for people like Mrs. Simmons who have answered the call to write the vision!

I highly recommend this book to everyone who has children at home that can read fluently on their own. Your children will love this story of other children who are just their age and are getting by on their own and relying on God.

Product review by Lyria Moore, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2009