by F. A. Green
Author Reputation Press, LLC

"Nesta, still reading in bed, felt she knew what it was like to be blamed for things you hadn’t done."

Nesta, a young girl falsely accused of starting a fire at school, stays at home while her father desperately seeks employment. He finds a teacher who gives Nesta a book about two brothers—Owl (later renamed Huntington) and his brother—who, like her, were accused unfairly of a school fire. Nesta is enthralled with this phantasmagoric tale set 100 years before, depicting orphaned children trapped in an eerie rural setting filled with real animals and one mysterious beast. There is little order to the children’s lives; two of their professors disappear, leaving them to be overseen by a dodgy “constable” who involves the children in covert crimes. Nesta finds that the twisting tale evokes her own unanswered questions while increasing her feelings for Jesus, shown as the children’s true guardian despite their many misfortunes.

The author has carefully devised a story in which a book’s plot has parallels in the life of its reader, children learn to face adversity with bravery and initiative despite the chaos around them, and, behind the scenes, a spiritual theme gradually develops. Huntington is shown as more thoughtful than most of his peers; an empathic teacher balances out the sometimes remote manner of some of the adults, and a tough but likable girl dressed like a boy adds another enigmatic layer. Jesus offers love and forgiveness to those who can hear the biblical message, while the horrible “beast” undoubtedly symbolizes all evil. The timeframe contrast—Nesta’s reliance on her cell phone and the book’s characters lacking such innovations—provides yet another intriguing element. Green’s creation is, at heart, an engaging fable of transformative faith delivered in a lively, almost cinematic way. Most importantly, the youthful characters act like ordinary kids left to their own devices, so young readers can easily identify with them.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Return to USR Home