A Heart Strangely Warmedby Louise A. Vernon, Allan Eitzen
John Wesley is a fiery preacher who is stirring up the people in London. One day, while peddling his father's wares, Robert Upton meets Wesley and his life is changed forever. Robert and his father start going to Wesley's meetings. Gradually, Robert begins to understand what Wesley's preaching is all about. As he allows God to work in his life, Robert finds that his own heart, like Wesley's, is strangely warmed. For 9-to-14-year-olds. 128 Pages.
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Louise Vernon has written several excellent historical fiction books for young people about great religious figures in history. There is very little historical fiction for youth that deals with this particular aspect of history. Each of her books takes a fictional young person and weaves his or her story into the life of an important historical person or event of religious significance. We purchased two of these several years ago, this one and The Man Who Laid the Egg (1977), both from Greenleaf Press. A Heart Strangely Warmed is about John Wesley, and tells how young Robert Upton first tries to help break up a Methodist meeting but comes to admire Wesley. The Man Who Laid the Egg is about Desiderius Erasmus who is said to have "laid the egg" that Luther ultimately hatched, and tells how young Gerhard Koestler goes to study with the great Dutch scholar. Vernon's books have won awards for "children's books with a Christian message." Other books of hers are Peter and the Pilgrims (the Separatists in early America), Strangers in the Land (the French Hugenots), The Secret Church (the Anabaptists), The Bible Smuggler (William Tyndale), Key to the Prison (George Fox and the Quakers), Night Preacher (Menno Simons and the Mennonites), The Beggars' Bible (John Wycliffe), Doctor in Rags (Paracelsus and the Hutterites), Thunderstorm in the Church (Martin Luther), and The King's Book (King James and the Authorized Version of the Bible). I thought that somewhere I read that she had done one on John Calvin too, but I have not been able to find it. To say that these are wonderful books is not necessarily to endorse every concept presented in them--one cannot take the theological views of Erasmus (a Catholic), Luther, Wesley, the Mennonites, and the Quakers and reconcile them all. But they do present the historical facts surrounding these men and movements in a readable and interesting way. Some of them are no longer in print, but most of them are available from Christian Book Distributors. I enjoyed these two so much that I determined to purchase all of them that were available.