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Faithful, But Not Famous Review by Kendra Fletcher

Emma Leslie
Salem Ridge Press LLC
4263 Salem Drive
Emmaus, Pennsylvania 18049

Homeschool graduate Daniel Mills began publishing out-of-print books through his company, Salem Ridge Press, in 2005. He has chosen books that are rich in their content, that tell beautifully crafted stories, and that are "living" in terms of their scope and relevance to life today.

One of Daniel's reprints is Emma Leslie's Faithful, But Not Famous, originally published in 1872 by The Religious Tract Society. Set in France between the years of 1510 and 1522, Faithful, But Not Famous tells the story of the French Reformation through the fictional story of young Claude Leclerc. Unsure what he believes about God, Claude learns the words to the hymn "David's Royal Fountain," which will "purge every sin away." In his quest to find this fountain and receive its cleansing, Claude meets Dr Lefevre, a Doctor of Divinity at the renowned Sorbonne University. As Dr. Lefevre begins to study the Scriptures for himself, he learns the wonderful truth of salvation by grace. He wants to share it with young Claude, but Claude has mysteriously disappeared.

Faithful, But Not Famous moves along at a quick pace and is packed with interesting period details. I love that other figures from the time period are woven into the story, giving the reader a real sense of what was happening in other parts of the world at the same time as the French Reformation. From Chapter VI, "Strange News From Paris":

But God was working in other hearts, nevertheless, although as yet nothing was heard. Just at this time a humble monk was on his way from Germany to Rome, on some business connected with his order, and the question that above all others occupied his mind was this very question of justification by faith. In his lonely vigils in the monastery at Erfurt, the Spirit of God had revealed this truth to his soul, but he could not fully grasp it yet; but ere he retraced his homeward steps it would burst upon his mind like the sun breaking through the darkness, and then Luther would proclaim it to all the world.

Because Faithful, But Not Famous was written over a century ago, there are terms and phrases unfamiliar to the modern reader. No worries; each one is highlighted and defined page by page, making it easy to understand the writer's intent. I read the book aloud to my children and found it easy to define the words to them as we went along.

I appreciate good historical fiction written about time periods and events that aren't commonly covered for young readers. As we study history, such people and events tend to come alive and take on a human element if I read a piece of well-written historical fiction aloud. I read Faithful, But Not Famous to my 12-year-old son, 10-year-old daughter, and 8-year-old daughter, and all of them enjoyed the story on different levels. As an independent read, the book is appropriate for 12 years and up.

Product review by Kendra Fletcher, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March 2010