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The Hidden Hand Review by Brandy Brockhausen

E.D.E.N Southworth
Lamplighter Publishing
Lamplighter Ministries International
23 State St.
Mount Morris, NY, 14510

The Hidden Hand is a novel written by E.D.E.N Southworth and originally published in 1859. It has been reissued through Lamplighter Publishing, a branch of Lamplighter Ministries International. The book is about 460 pages long, divided into short chapters. It is a beautifully bound, hard back book with an intricate design on the cover and costs $35.00.

The story itself is very exciting, with an orphan heiress named Capitola taking center stage. She is basically adopted by a retired army major with a fiery temper, but a soft heart. He seeks to uncover the mystery behind who she really is and right a wrong created by an old enemy. Along the way, spunky Capitola has several adventures, including escaping the clutches of a feared robber, helping a friend escape being forced into marriage, and finding her real mother.

Since it was originally published so long ago, some of the language may seem antiquated, but to me, that was part of the story’s charm. The book includes footnotes to explain some unfamiliar vocabulary, but I didn’t find it hard to read at all. I was captivated by the story itself, with its suspense, humor, love, and compassion. There are a lot of characters in the novel, but it isn’t hard to follow at all, and you get so caught up in the story that you just can’t wait to find out what is going to happen to everyone.

Throughout the story, there is an underlying theme that there is a God who is with us, guiding us through all our experiences and looking out for us throughout the way. Characters in the novel refer to their belief in the Lord, and there are some scripture references peppered throughout the story. I appreciated the fact that these references fit the context of the story organically, and didn’t seem forced at all.

I found myself looking forward to getting a chance to read whenever I could, and the short chapters made it easy to pick up right where I left off and read in short spurts. This worked well with my busy schedule, so I could read a little at a time each day. Although it is a long book, the story never drags, so you don’t get bored mid-way through.

I really enjoyed this novel, and I think it would be great for high school students or adults who love adventure stories with some romance mixed in. Students who struggle with reading will appreciate the short chapters, but some of the language might be difficult for them. However, you could easily use it as a family read aloud too. I think I’m going to do that next.

-Product review by Brandy Brockhausen, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April, 2017