Title: Rebecca Martin Heritage Series
Author: Rebecca Martin
Major Themes: American Revolution, Anabaptists, Civil War, Germany, Slavery, Switzerland
Synopsis: This five-book series follows an Anabaptist family from 1630s Switzerland to 1810 in Canada.
It took us seven or eight months to work our way through this series, reading a chapter or two aloud every day. We enjoyed the trip through Anabaptist history from near the beginning in the 1630s until the early 1800s in America. Rebecca Martin has invented a family to make a continuous story.
A Captain for Hans begins the saga, as several families in a small village in the mountains of Switzerland become Anabaptist and suffer persecution. In The Brickmakers, the persecution has become so severe that some families travel to the Palatinate, in what is now Germany, to begin a new life on land devastated by the Thirty Years War. A number of years later, the oppression builds up there to the point that the families move again, this time to the New World, in the book, Follow Me. Clyde the Rebel describes the American Revolution from the perspective of the nonresistant Mennonites. Freedom’s Star tells the story of a slave family escaping from their owners and a Mennonite family who helped them.
We had conflicting opinions about this series. All of us enjoyed the story, and the look at history from the Anabaptist viewpoint. On the other hand, the action seemed to lag at the beginning of most of the books; it took a long time to really get into the story. Towards the end of each book, I was being asked to read more some days, but at the beginnings the boys were bored. We also questioned the historical accuracy of some of the stories. Overall, these are a good, gentle introduction to Anabaptist values and history, and good as stories, but some of the details may not be right. For more information, see my review of each of the books.
WARNING: See the individual reviews for warnings.
Read Aloud—Ages 8 – 12, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, 12 – 15