Book Review: When Sparrows Fall, by Meg Moseley

Miranda Hanford is not a free woman. Married at a young age to a controlling, legalistic man, she is now the widowed mother of six children. Although her husband is gone, Miranda is expected to submit to the authority of her pastor, Mason Chandler. But when Mason announces hearing “from the Lord” that all church members are to sell their property and move together to a new community, Miranda can’t bring herself to go along with his plan. All she wants is to be left alone, but  Mason terrifies her with threats of what will happen if she does not comply with his wishes.

Then Miranda suffers a serious injury, and Jack, the brother of her late husband, is shocked to learn that he has been appointed guardian of Miranda’s children until she is well again. Even though he’s only met Miranda once  before, Jack is willing to help. Helping with meal preparation and homeschooling the children is one thing, but helping Miranda escape her church situation is another, especially since she’s too afraid to tell Jack the truth….

I applaud Meg Moseley for delving into the topic of spiritual and psychological abuse. When Sparrows Fall is a well-crafted work of fiction, but I’m afraid it does reflect reality for many well-meaning families today. Indeed, the book contains several thinly-veiled references to philosophies espoused by extremely conservative Christian leaders. If you’ve spent much time poking around the Christian homeschool blogosphere, you’ll catch the allusions. I could say a lot more about this topic, but in the interest of keeping this book review a book review, I’ll just say that I appreciate that Meg Moseley points out that there can be a dark side behind beautiful, old-fashioned dresses; perfectly-behaved children; and humongous, smiling, homeschooling, “quiverfull” families.

The characters of Miranda and Jack are well-developed, the storyline is exciting and suspenseful, and the subject of spiritual authority is worthy of careful consideration. I enjoyed this book and recommend it.

Disclosure: I received a free advance copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. This book will be released on May 3, 2011.

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