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A Thief in Pigeon Valley Review by Jennifer Smeltser

(Book 1 in the Lauren Series)
Cassandra M. Driver

You will have to look far and wide to find a homeschooler who does not want their child to become a book lover; one who enjoys spending time reading a good book at any time. If a child takes it further than that and also enjoys putting pen to paper and writes their own novel, that is even more exciting. Author Cassandra M. Driver managed to do both and brings readers, A Thief in Pigeon Valley, which is the first book in The Lauren Series.

Readers settle into a small country town and simpler days where a young Christian girl, Lauren Lake, lives with her parents. She is every bit as inquisitive as any other 13-year-old girl. Lauren’s close relationship with her parents is fueled by their family discussions and time in the Word. Her relationship with and dependence on God is strengthened through her quiet time, journaling and prayer. God has gotten Lauren through some difficult times and she continues to seek and trust in him with the decisions she makes.

The recent arrival of the Sholbolt family in town brings a needed physician to the community and a friend for Lauren. It also is the beginning of a series of thefts that shake the town causing concern and distrust of the new neighbors. At first it is just missing eggs, chickens and clothing, but rumors continue to grow after the general store is vandalized. There is a thief in town and Lauren is determined to find the real culprit and “clear the name” of the father of her new friend. A Thief in Pigeon Valley has elements of a good mystery that keep, not only the characters in the book, but also the readers guessing as to who is the real thief.

At the beginning of her book, Driver provides the reader with information about the setting of the story as well as a brief introduction to the characters they will meet as they turn the book pages. A Thief in Pigeon Valley takes place in Pigeon Valley, Tennessee during the 1900s. Pigeon Valley was a real location in Tennessee that later adopted the name of Hartford, in the 1900s, in honor of John Hart who was a co-owner of the Tennessee & North Carolina Railroad. Hart was also the construction supervisor of the railroad line connecting Newport and Waterville.

Driver touches on a sensitive subject, death of a sibling, when she tells the story of how Lauren’s older brother, James, died of influenza. Learning about Lauren’s experience sets the tone regarding her faith in God; He has carried her through a great tragedy in her life.

A Thief in Pigeon Valley was Driver’s first book and her skill is quite accomplished for a young writer. She has a talent for storytelling, which results in a well written and engaging book. Although the main character, Lauren, is a girl, boys will also enjoy the story.

Parents who desire to place wholesome literature in the hands of their children will be pleased with A Thief in Pigeon Valley. Readers who enjoy this book may continue following Lauren’s story in Book 2 Christmas Guest and Book 3 Escaping Rising Waters. Also, check out Driver’s novel Through His Eyes.

- Product review by Jennifer Smeltser, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January, 2018