I live near Ripley, Ohio which was a very important town in American History. We have visited the Rankin House which is a National Historic landmark and an Underground Railroad Station located in Ripley. Climbing the 100 steps from the Ohio River to the house shows just a glimpse of what it would have been like as a slave on their way to freedom
I was given the book Sarah's Wish to review for the TOS crew and was thrilled when I learned it was about the Underground Railroad. This wonderful historical fiction book gives a peek into little Sarah Smith’s life after her mother is killed in an accident. It takes place in 1858 in Ohio (which my kids thought was very cool). She knows that she has to help the slaves, Joseph and Polly who are hiding in her house but is really unsure how to do so. Having visited an actual home that hid slaves made this book much more real for my kids. They kept saying, “Do you think it was like the house we went to?” It takes Sarah two days to get back to her home but she does find a way to help the slaves. The story goes on to tell how she goes on an adventure to find a new home with someone to love and take care of her. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but I can assure you that it will keep you on the edge of your chair.
The characters in Sarah’s Wish make you wish you had really known them. After the accident, her mother’s friend, Granny Evans, takes Sarah into her house until she can find new parents. She opens her home and her heart to little Sarah and proves to be a much needed confidant when Sarah thinks all hope is lost.
There is something for everyone in this book; runaways, slave catchers, gypsies and riverboats. I read this book to myself first because I wasn’t sure if it would be scary to my kids (age 10 and 6). I feel like there are a few scenes that seem a little too graphic for them so I skipped a few of the parts that concerned me. This is not a negative against the book because I think it is just an accurate portrayal of life in those times.
When I finished reading Sarah’s Wish, I was thrilled that it was just the first of three books that Mr.. Baumgardner has written about Sarah. Sarah's Promise and Sarah's Escape can also be purchased on the website www.sarahbooks.com. Sarah’s Wish can be purchased for $9.99. Sarah’s Promise is $14.99 and Sarah’s Escape is $17.50 which is 20% off. You can also purchase the audio version of each book.
Sarah’s Wish also has a free audio download included with your purchase. This is a great bonus so you can listen to this as well as read it.
I can’t finish this review without talking about the author. When I received this book it was autographed and had a shiny butterfly sticker (which has a significant part in the story). I was very impressed with this because he had sent out over a hundred books to the crew and they all were like this. It is obvious that he cares about his customers and in my dealings with him so far, I have found him to be a caring, kind, and funny gentleman.
There is also a newsletter that Mr.. Baumgardner sends out about what is going on with Sarah. If you are contemplating whether these are something your family would enjoy you can read excerpts from the books here. These would make wonderful Christmas gifts for your teenage children.
***** I was given this book in exchange for my review for the TOS crew.