Title: The Tanglewoods’ Secret
Author: Patricia St. John
Major Themes: Christian Life, England
Synopsis: When Ruth comes to the end of herself, she is found by the Good Shepherd, who transforms her life.
I have always loved Patricia St. John’s books. They portray troubled children in various situations and parts of the world who find the solution to their problems when they meet Jesus. Each one portrays Jesus in a different way.
I have some sons who have a challenge reading, so part of our school day, every day, is to spend half an hour reading a book together. We take turns, the ones who struggle each reading a paragraph to every four paragraphs that the good reader and I read. The four of us take turns choosing the book we read, and The Tanglewoods’ Secret was a recent choice. I was happy to read it again, as it had been many years and I didn’t remember it. The message of the story, as in most of this author’s books that I’ve read, came through powerfully.
Philip and Ruth are living with an aunt in England; their parents are in India and Ruth, a few years younger than Philip, can’t remember them. She is a very willful child, often finding herself at odds with her aunt. Things come to a head one day when she runs away from home. After she spends an uncomfortable night in a church, the minister introduces her to the Good Shepherd. Soon after this, tragedy strikes and the children’s lives are forever changed.
Adventure, tragedy, and Jesus are all woven together in this beautiful story. Changed lives illustrate the power of Jesus. I highly recommend The Tanglewoods’ Secret as a family bedtime story.
WARNING: “Good gracious” is used in ch. 6. A child is badly injured in ch. 12. Someone tries to steal something and says “I swear” in ch. 17. “Goodness knows” is used in ch. 19. A child dies in ch. 22.
Listening Level—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12