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Nan's Journey Review by Kim Kargbo

By Elaine Littau
12580 County Rd Q1
Perryton, TX 79070

Nan's Journey is a historical fiction novel set in the developing American West during the 1800s. Nan is a young girl being raised by a stepmother who abuses the children mercilessly out of her own emotional pain of abuse and rejection. To save her younger brother, Elmer, Nan runs away and finds refuge in the gentle arms of an older couple who love the Lord and are determined to rescue the children. They take them to live with their son Fred, who lives alone in a mountain cabin after leaving the ministry in pain following the death of his wife and baby daughter.

The children bring healing to the broken pastor, and he to them, as he shares with them the Gospel that he has all but forgotten himself. They begin to forge a little family in their mountain community. Then tragedy strikes. While Fred and Elmer are out hunting one day, some drunken mountain men come upon Nan alone in the cabin and rape and beat her. Upon finding that she was pregnant, Fred decides to marry her to save her from scandal, even though she is only about 15. The story continues to unfold as Nan gives birth alone to twin boys, but the drunken man who raped her comes back and steals one of the babies while she is unconscious. She has a vague memory of two babies but only knows of one. Fred continues to love Nan to wholeness and they raise a family together and learn of the love of God toward them.

While this was a riveting story, I'm not sure what application it would have in homeschooling. The issues dealt with in the story are suitable only for mature readers, so there wouldn't be many who would read it for school. It does present an accurate picture of the perils of life in the early West, however, as opposed to some of the more glamorized versions of wagon trains and pioneer settlers.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and eagerly read the sequel, Elk's Resolve, to continue the story. I loved the redemptive messages throughout the story as the characters each walked through their own journeys of healing and finding Christ. The content, however, would not be suitable for young children or sensitive readers. I recommend the book for mature high schoolers or adults.

Product review by Kim Kargbo, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May 2010