“Could you not teach them what you do know?”
Separated from her parents and sent to live with unknown relatives for the summer, Belle Standish clings hard to the promises found in her dear Bible and her beloved hymns. As she grows to love her newly discovered family, she finds much work to be done for her Lord in this neglected field.
But when danger threatens those she loves, Belle’s faith and courage are tested in ways she never imagined. Will God’s promises hold true even in the midst of the storm? And what can she possibly accomplish with just her one little light?
Click here to enter to win a free ebook of Hymns in the Hills. One way to enter is to find the hidden sentence in all the blog posts for this tour (the links for all the posts are at the bottom of this post). There is one word hidden in every post. The hidden word in this post is in all-caps somewhere in my review below. 🙂
What a sweet little old-fashioned story! This is a style I particularly love. Told from the perspective of a dear little child who is sincerely seeking God with her whole heart (notwithstanding her very human mistakes and struggles), Hymns in the Hills is heartwarming and refreshing. I enjoyed meeting Belle, a young girl who is sent to live with her aunt and uncle for several months. I enjoyed each one of the many hymns she would SING as she went about her daily work. Some of the hymns were very familiar to me; others were old favorites I rarely hear sung nowadays; still others were new to me and yet equally beautiful and beloved. I loved how their theology wove about naturally with Belle’s everyday life, shaping her character, encouraging her heart, ministering to those around her, and guiding her decisions.
The plot was well crafted. It wasn’t complicated, and I found much of it quite predictable, but that did not in the least detract from my enjoyment. It was inherently Christian, with Biblical messages and morals unapologetically woven throughout the pages, but I didn’t find it contrived or forced to forward the Christian themes, but rather quite realistic and believable for the work and purpose of God in the hearts of His people.
The more exciting parts of the plot were handled well. Although there was danger from human and natural forces, it wasn’t inappropriately frightening. Nothing was shown “on page” that I’d hesitate to let a child read, and yet just enough hints were woven within the background threads of the story to allow older readers to appreciate what was going on without dwelling on evil.
The characters! The characters were so well-drawn! At first, it’s difficult to keep track of all the many cousins, but since we get to know them slowly right along with Belle, it’s not hard to put everyone in their places as quickly as needed. Each cousin’s personality shone through the pages, each contributing to the well-rounded flavor of the story. The older relations were also well-characterized – no cookie cutter characters here! I also enjoyed the minister and his wife. I even loved the distinct personalities of the dogs, though I’m by no means a dog person. 🙂
Tom Beck remained a puzzle to me throughout the book. I would have liked a bit more explanation as to his motives and methods, though there was enough to be satisfactory for the most part. The one part of the story I didn’t find entirely realistic was his interaction with the girls – he seemed quite careless in regards to them.
Another element of the book I enjoyed was how long it took to travel to each isolated cabin in the hills! So often stories gloss over this, but I was happy to see that this wasn’t the case here. The long treks between neighbors came across quite realistically.
The ending was satisfying. The storylines of the aunts, uncles, cousins, Belle, and her parents all wrapped up quite well in the sweet old-fashioned style the book was written in. All in all, I found Hymns in the Hills to be encouraging and refreshing. I’d love to meet Belle in person, and I’d love to read a sequel about her future life!
Rebekah A. Morris is a homeschool graduate, an enthusiastic freelance author and a passionate writing teacher. Her books include, among others, Home Fires of the Great War, The Unexpected Request, Gift from the Storm and her best-selling Triple Creek Ranch series. Some of her favorite pastimes, when she isn’t writing, include reading and coming up with dramatic and original things to do. The Show-Me state is where she calls home.
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