Books by Susan K. Marlow: Canyon of Danger and River of Peril
I have read a variety of children's books, both when I was young and even recently as I seek out new and suitable reads for my younger siblings.
What I have perceived with contemporary Christian authors of children's literature is an all-round lack of talent in writing-style and delivery of the Christian message.
In contrast, this author has talent.
Both short stories are a great length for young readers (8-12), with the plot beginning near the start and keeping a steady pace through the chapters.
As a plus, even I as an adult was intrigued by the plot. Pretty good, eh?
I preferred the Canyon of Danger over its sequel River of Peril. The former has a more well-developed and surprising plot.
I was disappointed that there wasn't more of a Christian message in these books.
True, I think that an overdone Christian message can be awkward but I am pleased with a good Christian faith being lived out by the author. (I found this to be accomplished well in the Kathleen Series by Tracy Craven, the Millie Series, and the Scout series by Piet Prins) I believe that in an effort to make the hero, Jem, realistic and similar to the would-be-readers of the stories, the author didn't give him a very deep faith. But at age twelve, I think he could have been more respectful of his aunt and more trusting of God.
Remember, I'm judging these books by Christian standards. It would get much less criticism if I didn't expect it to be such. And not to be picky, but I do believe Jem's emotions about Sundays are not historically accurate since in the 1800s 'strict' Sundays were a part of their life, from infanthood up. Even today, I know many younger children (as young as 7 and 5!) who can sit calmly through two hours of the adult church service.
I would conclude that these books are exciting for the young reader. Christian parents can without worries give them to their children. The characters do not inspire the young reader to greater Christian faith or virtues but they are very safe books.
As a Southerner (in light of the War Between the States), I will warn fellow 'Confederates' that River of Peril takes a Northern stance. Just saying.
I was pleased to receive these books from Kregel publications blog tours in exchange for an honest review.