Saturday, March 08, 2008

Review: On Sparrow Hill


As the curator for the Quentin Hollinworth family estate, Rebecca Seabrooke is focused on just two things: making hers the most successful historic home in the country and forgetting the childhood crush she’s had on Quentin since her father worked as the family valet. After all, they don’t exactly run in the same social circles.

But when she and Quentin uncover letters in the family vault written over 150 years ago by Berrie Hamilton – one of Quentin’s ancestors – Rebecca discovers that Quentin isn’t the only one with a legacy to appreciate. Only Berrie’s words can prepare Rebecca for the dramatic turn her life is about to take.


On Sparrow Hill is the sequel to The Oak Leaves and Maureen Lang’s fourth book for the inspirational market. While I loved The Oak Leaves, this book is even more gripping. It sat on my to be read pile for several weeks, but when I picked it up, I had an incredibly hard time putting it down. The mix of current and historical plots pulled me through the chapters.

Rebecca Seabrooke finds herself unexpectedly spending almost every day with Quentin Hollinworth. Very quickly their feelings for each other come to the fore front. The only problem is his mother doesn’t approve, and his ex-girlfriend is all too willing to get involved again.

The historical story line follows Berrie Hamilton, Peter’s sister and Cosima’s dear friend from book one. She is trying to start her home for those suffering from Fragile X Syndrome that society didn’t know how to handle in the early 1850s. But she’s running into challenges and obstacles at every turn.

The two plots are interwoven with the arrival of Dana and Padgett from the United States. Dana plays a role in book one and helps tie the two together. She also brings a modern light to the challenges and scares of Fragile X Syndrome. I appreciate the reality and heart that the author pours into this book. She doesn’t downplay the challenges – or the unexpected joys. And the struggles that Dana experiences rang true to me – it would be so easy to fall into those even though you want to trust God and His sovereignty.

The twists and turns in both romances kept me reading, as well as genuinely wanting to know what would happen to Berrie’s hospital and Dana. And I think the intermixing of the storylines helped keep the pages turning late into the night.

However, my one complaint would be that some of the modern chapters seemed like mere pageholders to get back to the historic story even though both story lines were compelling with gripping characters and questions. Because I read an unedited ARC, some of those tiny hiccups may have been worked out before the press run.

I enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the next Maureen Lang novel.

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