The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Jenny Higgins and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

Thicker Than Blood Review by Jenny Thompson

By C.J. Darlington
Tyndale House Publishers
351 Executive Drive
Carol Stream, IL 60188

Thicker Than Blood is the debut novel of author C.J. Darlington, for which she won the 2008 Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel award. Christian writing at its best, Thicker Than Blood takes the reader on a journey of faith with the sisters who serve as its main characters. Christy and May are separated as teenagers after the death of their parents in a horrible accident. They choose very different paths for their lives, but God brings them together again after 15 years of being apart. With God's help and healing, the sisters are finally able to have a relationship after overcoming some major hurdles along the way.

Christy has lived her life full of shame and regret. She cannot seem to find fulfillment, even in her dream job acquiring antique books for Dawson's Book Barn. Her personal relationships have been a disaster and have even put her in danger. Her only friend is Hunter Dawson, the son of the owner of the bookstore, but she has kept secrets from him that threaten to destroy his trust in her. After her abusive ex-boyfriend sets fire to her apartment, she has nowhere to turn except to her sister. Will her sister accept and forgive her for her past? This question haunts her as she reluctantly goes to the sister she abandoned so many years ago.

Christy's younger sister May was taken in by their Great-aunt Edna after their parents' death. Edna raised Christy to be a strong, godly woman. Christy now runs a ranch but is facing difficult financial problems that might close the ranch for good. This hardship makes finding her long-lost sister all the more important. Her Auntie does what she can to help Christy reach out to her sister. Little does she know that it will take Edna's death to draw her sister out of hiding. She is taken by surprise when Christy attends their Aunt's funeral. It is there that the story of redemption and restoration begins.

I was very impressed with C.J. Darlington's first novel. She has created two realistic women, which you don't always find in Christian fiction. Writers in this genre often give us characters that seem too good to be true. These sisters are each flawed in their own ways, and I think many women will be able to relate to them in their weaknesses and strengths. This novel takes you into the worlds of antique book sales and ranch handling and makes you comfortable in both. Darlington did an amazing job of drawing me into the lives of these two women so that I truly cared about what happened to them. Exciting, fast-paced, and full of twists and turns, this novel has all the makings of great fiction. Add to the mix the forgiveness and grace that May extends to her sister, and you have the perfect picture of God's love for us. What more could you want in a Christian novel?

Product review by Jenny Thompson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February 2010