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Baker Family Adventures Book Series Review by Adrienne FalkenaIncluded:
Summer of Suspense
Peril on Providence Island
Riddle of the Ruby Ring
The Treacherous Trail
Prisoner of the Pyrenees
C. R. Hedgcock
Grace & Truth Books
3406 Summit Blvd.
Sand Springs, OK 74063
The Baker Family Adventures follows the exciting adventures of the Baker family, with Mr. and Mrs. Baker and their four children over the span of four years. In the beginning Phil is sixteen, twins Abby and Andy are twelve, and Tom is five. They are a homeschooling family learning and growing in godliness as they travel through very exciting adventures together. Several other characters are found in each book, including Detective Mortimer and Jigson, an undercover agent. The set includes six paperback volumes by C.R. Hedgcock. The set retails for $85, but is currently on sale on the Grace & Truth Books website for $64. (See the site for current pricing.)
Summer of Suspense begins with the arrival of Cousin Millie from England. Millie brought her horse along for the visit, and her horse disappears! Millie is kidnapped, and then Abby is kidnapped too. They learn there is a criminal gang they've fallen into the middle of, with underground headquarters for a jewelry making scheme. They meet Jigson in the criminal headquarters, who quickly becomes an ally. Detective Mortimer was hired to find Abby and Millie, only to find himself captured as well. Millie's father has a diamond mine and the criminals hope to get his wares in exchange for his daughter. A ransom is set and the mystery thickens. Summer of Suspense has 209 pages.
Peril on Providence Island is book two in the set, and continues the adventures of the Baker family. They travel to England to visit grandparents and meet Marge, a friend and neighbor of their grandmother who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Marge tells them stories of one of her relatives who was attacked by pirates and his treasure lost. The Baker's keep finding clues that point to Marge's story being true. Digging deeper into her stories, they explore a cave on an isolated island and find a diary and a Bible belonging to the relative of Marge—and a skeleton. Who is the skeleton? What happened? The mystery was enough to keep my kids glued to the book! Peril on Providence Island has 236 pages and is my thirteen year old's favorite in the series.
The third book in the series is Riddle of the Ruby Ring. It has 231 pages and takes the Baker family on yet another adventure, this time back in the States. The Baker's neighbors, the Wilbur family, found an old foundation of a horse stable on their property. The Wilbur's find a ruby ring in a crate in the cellar of the foundation, and then the ring goes missing! Two families come forward saying the ring belongs to each of them, each with their own story of how it came to be. Who really owned the ring? How did it end up in the cellar of the old stables? What about the mysterious men who keep showing up, only to escape before the police arrive?
Treacherous Trail is the fourth book in the Baker Family Adventures and the favorite of my twelve year old daughter. The Wilbur's and the Baker's head to a lodge to enjoy time away together. The two fathers and their sons go off on a four-day horseback riding and boating adventure while the girls and Tom stay with their mothers to enjoy the luxuries of the lodge. The boys run into a notorious gang of thieves and murderers, rescuing an injured gang member, only to realize who he is. They then intend to turn him into the police, but Phil finds himself acting as a gang member to throw the gang off their trail. Soon Phil's tracking device is no longer letting the Baker's track him. Where is he? Gang member Abhra knows who Phil is – but how? Why is Jigson, the undercover agent, acting so strange?
Prisoner of the Pyrenees continues the mystery and intrigue that follows the Baker family. A young girl, Briosa, arrives on their farm, hoping the family can help her find Jigson. Briosa tells them her grandfather was murdered, and only Jigson can help. No one has heard from Jigson in quite some time, and even his agency cannot find him – or if they know, they aren't talking. The Baker's head to the border of Spain to try to find Jigson and find out what happened to Briosa's grandfather. They set up a meeting with someone who saw her grandfather last, only to find out he'd been murdered as well. With a computer chip with a massive virus about to land in the wrong hands, the Bakers are scrambling to find Jigson and destroy the computer chip. Is Briosa telling all of the truth? Will they get to the bottom of all of it in time? Prisoner of the Pyrenees has 280 pages.
Iceland Intrigue is the largest book, at 453 pages, and one of the best in the series according to my thirteen year old daughter. It is the final book in the Baker Family Adventures. The family has received word that Jigson is dead. Phil enters an invention contest, but he runs into problems getting his invention to work. Detective Mortimer knows a man, Sigurd, who can help, and contacts him – but Sigurd is in hiding in Iceland. The family decides to take a vacation to Iceland to meet Sigurd, but Phil is determined not to get into another adventure after the pain of losing Jigson. Someone steals Phil's notes, and he fears it was his biggest competitor that stole them. The family goes to Iceland, but while seeing the sights they realize they are being followed. Phil's resolve to avoid mystery and adventure is lost when Abby goes missing in Iceland, but who took her? Phil disappears, but why? Will whoever stole his notes build his invention before he gets a chance to finish? The final book is a tapestry of all of the mysteries woven together, tying all the loose ends and answering so many questions.
My kids loved these books. I had four kids read them, ages 8-13. They've all declared they are the best books they've ever read, and if I have one complaint, it's that every time I turned around, I found four dear children with their noses in books—for weeks now! They couldn't put them down. I read the first volume aloud, and even the ones that had read it already sat and listened. My twelve year old has already begun the series for a second time.
I wholeheartedly recommend this series. The Baker's keep Christianity at the forefront, and strive to glorify God in all they do. At the end of each book is a list of Scriptures used in the story and their references, and Iceland Intrigue has a glossary of terms as well. My kids all loved them, and I've heard recaps of the stories for many weeks now. My six year old is even trying to read them, just because she's heard so much from her siblings. It's over her head – but she's determined. The only complaint I heard was when the kids realized that the series is complete and there isn't another book for us to buy to continue the intrigue. If you're looking for good quality Christian fiction to entertain your avid reader or draw in a reluctant one, this series will definitely do the trick. I'm watching for anything else by C. R. Hedgcock, because this series rates right up there with the best books on the shelf for my family.
-Product review by Adrienne Falkena, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April, 2017