I've mentioned countless times how important quality literature is to our family and how much we love reviewing books. There is always some sort of read-aloud that the kids and I are sharing together. And while I absolutely love reading and can easily get lost in a book, I don't read literature silently to myself very often. Oh, I used to; I used to read multiple novels a week. Then life got busier and I allowed my personal reading to be pushed aside. Every now and then though, a book comes along that begs to be enjoyed, to be read, to be made to come to life in the mind of the reader. The Secret Bridge was one such book.
I was excited when I learned that I was receiving a book from Lamplighter Publishing. The company is known for its wholesome books (both printed and audio) that are filled with characters that encourage faith in God. While the particular books they sell can be found elsewhere, their versions are "edited within a Biblical theological framework to ensure that each story reflects the character of God." Key Scripture references, footnotes with definitions, and biblical truths make these titles unique and highly valued over other books with the same titles.
The Secret Bridge was written in 1899 by Amy Le Feuvre. The foundation of our home school is literature, and we often pull books from the late 1800s and early 1900s for our learning. The majority of the time, the vocabulary is richer, the godly character traits more pronounced, and the plots more beneficial. Amy Le Feuvre was an accomplished author in England. Being a granddaughter of a reverend, she used her religious upbringing to write many stories that are filled with biblical principles.
The Secret Bridge begins as Bridget Channing is sailing to England. Her widower father had recently died, leaving her to be cared for by an uncle oversees. On the journey, she met Godfrey Bullingham, a naval man from a very well-to-do family. There was a instant mutual attraction, so when Bridget discovered that her uncle had passed away weeks before her arrival and she was subsequently on her own, she agreed to marry Godfrey. The day of the wedding, he left for a year-long voyage at sea, leaving Bridget to keep the marriage a secret from everyone except the elderly couple caring for her in a farm house on Bullingham property. During this time, she was introduced to the Fitzroys, the Bullingham's greatest rivals. As she draws closer to both of these influential families, Bridget discovers another secret--one that could either potentially bring to two families together, or tear her husband's family apart. She must use her new-found faith in God to help her make the proper choices and trust in Him to work out the details.
The story is filled with biblical truths and sprinkled with quotes from Scripture. The reader witnesses Bridget's faith unfold and she learns about God and what it means to climb the ladder of faith. Hardships, struggles, dependence on God, grace, delight. Her relationship with Godfrey is a picture of the Christian life. When she met him, he meant nothing to her. Once they became acquainted, she longed to know him better. He came and saved her in her hour of need, and she became his. Even though he wasn't there in person, she had his letters to get to know him better. He cared for her, provided for her, loved her. It's the same way with Christ. We start off not knowing Him. Then we're introduced to Him, and He saves and we become His child. We know Him better through the Bible. He cares for us, provides for us, loves us. We are His.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Secret Bridge. It was an easy read that reinforced many godly qualities. The book itself has a beautiful, turquoise hardcover with a soft, velvety finish. It would look impressive on any bookshelf as a collector's item. While my children do read literature from this time period, I don't think they would be too interested in this one quite yet. Ultimately, it is a love story (one that pictures our relationship with God), and though there is nothing inappropriate in it, I think it would be more appealing to the teen and older crowd.
Lamplighter Publishing aims to develop "Christlike character one story at a time," and I think that they accomplished that with this book.
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You can read more reviews of this book on the Homeschool Review Crew blog.