Release Date: June 20, 2013
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Genre: Young Adult / Teens
It’s not easy being a teenager in foster care. Tormented by verbal abuse and the threat of being separated from her brothers, Hailey knew something had to change. Hoping to find the peace they long for, Hailey, Hayden, and Grant, and their foster sister, Kyra, set out on a journey that would change their lives forever. Can Hailey keep her family together by running away? Will God heal their hurting hearts and help them find the love they long for? Hailey hopes to find protection under the shadow of a steeple.
I loved this story. Before I get into my review, I need to talk to you about the characters.
Hailey Goodman is fifteen-years-old who has been trying to live the Christian faith that her Grandmother instilled in her. She is responsible but finds herself having to grow up faster than she should because she’s constantly looking after her brothers. It was her idea to run away from their mean foster parents and to her grandmother’s church. I thought it was creative that she creates their home underneath the stage of the church. In order to keep learning, she creates lesson plans and such to homeschool herself and her brothers.
Hayden is the oldest of her brothers. He’s ten and angry. He’s been through so much hurt that his heart is hardened towards God, but finds happiness in the church they’re living in.
Grant is the sweetest and the youngest of Hailey’s brothers. He’s six and is a strong believer in Jesus Christ. He loves learning about God and the Bible.
Then we have Kyra. Kyra is a seventh grader and the Goodman’s foster sister. She isn’t a Christian for most of the book, but she is curious to know more about God because she’s watched, Hailey. She is a huge help to Hailey and becomes like a sister to them.
The supporting characters were so fun as well. It was like having a church family but in story form. Kate and Lane Evans, Wade, Janie, and Paul all play huge roles in the kids’ lives. I especially love Kate and Lane who become attached to the kids. I especially loved Wade which leads me to the spiritual context of the book.
Like Mrs. Kinsey’s other books, her focus is on God and draws the readers to Him. There are many themes. Salvation, growing in your faith, to sharing your faith with others, to trusting God completely and giving Him everything that is in your heart, and modesty are just only a few of the themes. The one theme I want to focus on are the ones that Wade displayed. He tells Hailey that he doesn’t want to just know the Word of God, but that He wants to be so in love with God’s Word to the point that he hungered for it. I think that’s definitely an area that I need to work in and it challenged me. I also loved how he kept Hailey accountable. He would ask her about her faith, how she was really doing, and when he started noticing something was wrong, he confronted her about it without being pushy or forcing her. He was simply just being a friend.
It also has a little bit of mystery like the Boxcar Children which was really fun! I won’t tell you too much because you need to read the book for yourself to find out more.
It was a beautiful read that has all of the feels. You’ll laugh, cry, cheer. I highly recommend this to everyone.
Also, if you are a homeschool teacher or a Christian teacher who is looking for a writing curriculum, Mrs. Kinsey has published one to go along with this book for middle and high school teens. I’m a homeschool graduate so I thought this was really cool to share with you. You can learn more about the curriculum her website.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
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About Carol Kinsey
Carol Kinsey is the author of Greater Love, Until Proven Innocent, and Under the Shadow of a Steeple. Along with her three Christian fiction novels, Carol has authored a writing curriculum, Creative Writing Through Literature, which launched in 2016. She is also a contributing author for Relationships Under Construction and several other publications. Carol partners with authors, Amy C. Blake and Colleen Scott, speaking on developing the writer in yourself and your child. Carol, her husband, and their daughters live on a farm in rural Ohio. She and her husband have been involved in youth ministry for over twenty years and currently serve at a small country church, which inspired her novel, Under the Shadow of a Steeple. Carol has a passion for writing exciting fiction that uplifts, encourages, and gives glory to God.