Title: Twice Freed
Author: Patricia St. John
Major Themes: 1st century, Greece, Historical Fiction, Ancient Greeks, Young Adult Books
Synopsis: Onesimus longs for freedom—but when he gets it, he realizes it is not the answer to true peace and happiness he has been searching for.
I’ve always loved Patricia St. John stories, and Twice Freed is no exception. When I was younger, Mom made a tape recording of the book Star of Light, and I’m sure I would have worn that tape set out except that we lost the middle tape, so I was not able to listen to the whole story anymore. I remember hours spent with the little portable tape player I had, listening to my favorite stories over, and over, and over again. I wore out more than one tape player over the years of my listening. Even now, Patricia St. John is one of my favorite authors—besides delivering a wonderful story, she also tells about the Christian faith in a way that all can identify well with.
Onesimus is a slave, and all he wants is to be free. After meeting Eirene, a rich merchant’s daughter, he longs even more to be free once and for all of the bondage of slavery. When his master, Philemon, begins following the teachings of Christ and His apostle Paul, Onesimus becomes even more desperate to be free. The anger and hate that has built inside him over the years seems to have no bounds, and when the day for revenge comes he takes it. But freedom is not as sweet as he once thought—and the words of the Christians he meets along the way do nothing but make him angrier. Can he ever find true freedom—and if he can, will he be able to find happiness and peace?
I loved how Twice Freed brought together both the ancient Greek way of life, and a fascinating account found in Philemon, a book of the Bible. The apostle Paul comes to life, and once started this story is hard to put down. It makes a wonderful (suspenseful!) read-aloud, and also is great as a reader. I believe as a read-aloud, this would be great for children aged 8 and over, and children aged 12 – 15 would especially appreciate it as a reader.
WARNING: There is lying and deception through different parts of the book. Chapter 20 describes in some detail a fight at an amphitheatre.
Listening Level—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 10 – 12, 12 – 15