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College professor Jack Hanford is more than surprised when he gets a call from his estranged sister-in-law’s oldest son, Timothy, informing him that Miranda has taken a serious fall and he has been named legal guardian of her children while she recovers. Quickly charmed by Miranda’s children, Jack brings some much-needed life into the sheltered household. But his constant challenging of the family’s conservative lifestyle makes the recovering mother uneasy and defensive—despite Jack’s unnerving appeal.
As Jack tries to make sense of the mysterious Miranda and the secrets she holds so tightly, Mason’s pressure on her increases. With her emotions stirring and freedom calling, can Miranda find a way to unshackle her family without losing everything?
Excerpted from When Sparrows Fall by Meg Moseley Copyright © 2011 by Meg Moseley. Excerpted by permission of Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc.
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Posted November 12, 2012
I picked this up because it was nominated for the 2012 Carol Award, and I wasn't disappointed. In this novel, Moseley deals with a Christian in a church on the fringes of the faith, a church following a wayward and domineering pastor who is certain he is hearing from God, not only about what he should do, but about what his entire church should do. Miranda is caught in the middle. She's afraid to cross her pastor but determined to break away from him. And then when she injures herself, the brother of her late husband shows up to help out with her six children, throwing more trouble into the mix.
As a former home schooler, I worried Moseley wouldn't treat home schooling with respect, but she handled the situation beautifully, highlighting both the benefits of it as well as the difficulties, especially for a family that separates itself from society.
With a great story line and a unique voice, Moseley has written a compelling book I couldn't put down.
Posted September 3, 2011
I have to admit that I was a little concerned when I read the email from the publicist in which she told me that she was sending me a book that was popular with homeschool moms. I'm not exactly a traditional homeschool mom (notice I didn't say "typical" - there is no such thing as a "typical" homeschool mom), so I started wondering exactly what was in this book.
No need to worry. This book represents most homeschoolers in a positive light. Miranda's late husband has kept his family tightly under his control, and he in turn was kept in line by the leader of their church (read "cult"). The children were allowed no outside influences. This is not a healthy reason to homeschool and this author recognizes that and throughout the book, Jack slowly pulls Miranda and the children out into the world, without ever telling her she should put the kids in school. (Although I think there was one argument in which he told her she was doing her kids a great disservice by not teaching them certain subjects.)
As for the story, it's at turns heartbreaking and heartwarming. Because of a past tragedy and circumstances beyond her control, Miranda lives under a cloud of fear and guilt. This is part of what allows the church leader to control her even after her husband is gone. Jack comes into their life, and even as the children warm to him and Miranda gets to see more and more of the God of grace and mercy that Jack serves, she still can't completely let go. This book isn't about homeschooling. It's loving and trusting God and others and letting them love you.
My biggest issue with the book is a bit of a spoiler, and I usually don't put spoilers in my reviews, but it's something that really bothered me. As Jack and Miranda build a relationship, they become more affectionate to each other in front of the children. Obviously, they're not doing anything inappropriate, but after reading through the book that for the past 14 years, she's lived a very strict, pious life, and kept her kids in a bubble in which they were not even allowed to read fiction, I find it hard to believe that she would suddenly feel comfortable kissing a man in front of her children. It just felt out of character.
Over all, though, I did like the story... And I think other homeschool moms will, too. (Sorry. I couldn't resist.)
I received this book for free from Multnomah Books in exchange for an honest review.
Posted August 16, 2011
I actually know Meg Mosley... I used to go to her church. I got first dibs and read the book before it hit the market. We are all very proud of her and hope she comes our with a sequel. She says she's planing too... but anyway, I highly reccommend this book!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 13, 2011
"WHEN SPARROWS FALL" BY MEG MOSELY
A story of love, deception, and blackmail. A woman, Miranda Hanford, finds herself being manipulated into protecting her children and all those who know her from her secret past.
This is a fast-paced read full of intrigue and mystery.
-Kitty Bullard / Great Minds Think Aloud Book Club
Posted July 28, 2011
*When Sparrows Fall*, by Meg Moseley is her first novel. I enjoyed reading her book and could not put it down! I can't wait to read more books by her in the near future. This is a story of forgiveness and sacrifice. Miranda, a widowed mother of six, is being told by her Pastor that she and the rest of congregation are to repair their homes to sale, pack things up, and move. Miranda is determined to stay in Georgia and not move her children to North Carolina. Miranda's church is strict--men cannot really vote, music is bad, fiction books are sinful, and the ladies have to wear baggy clothes. If Miranda does not move Pastor Mason threatens to give away Miranda's secret. One day, Miranda takes a bad fall which lands her in the hospital--and her six children needing care. One day, Jack receives a phone call from his oldest nephew telling him that he is the guardian of the children while Miranda recovers. Jack and the children are thrown together and both are "cultured shocked" to say the least. Jack finally gets to meet the family that his brother kept away from him. He falls for every one of the children and does everything he can for them. The story has a little bit of mystery to it---which I liked because I had to keep on reading why Mason wanted to "tell" on Miranda. This is a story of a mother who was willing to do what she can to get her children out of an environment that was harming them---a life that showed a "wolf is sheep's clothing." This is story of love for family and for learning to forgive themselves for things that happened in their life. WHAT A GREAT READ!!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 15, 2011
Posted June 13, 2011
"When Sparrows Fall" was a wonderfully written novel that captured my attention from page one and never let it go. This was a book that once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down until I reached the end. I liked almost everything in this book, especially how Jack would call Michael and Gabriel (Miranda's two middle children) "the archangels" and that Miranda named her camera "Jezebel", because her church had forbidden her to use it to make money. Some of the things I didn't like in the book were 1)That the story jumped ahead - sometimes by weeks; 2)How Jack would openly defy Miranda and the rules she had in raising her children; and 3)That Jack secretly, on three different occasions, gave Miranda a pain pill which he knew she did not want to take. The reason I listed numbers 2 and 3 is because the book makes it seem as though what Jack did was right. I think the last one bothers me the most. I know if I didn't want to take pain medication and someone secretively put it into my food, I would be so angry that I would have a hard time trusting that person again. It's because of these reasons that I'm giving this book 4 1/2 stars. Overall this is a well-crafted novel that is an enjoyable read. The characters are well developed and you can't help but fall in love with Miranda's children. I think that Meg Moseley did a superb job for her first novel. I highly recommend reading "When Sparrows Fall". Thanks to WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for sending me a complimentary copy of this book to review. I was not required to give a positive review, only to give my honest opinion of the book - which I have done.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 10, 2011
This book has me wondering just how common these sort of harsh religious beliefs are and how close they are to my neighborhood. When Sparrows Fall is about young widow Miranda who belongs to a church with these harsh beliefs and when things get to be too twisted she decides it is time to break away! Before she can do that though she gets severely injured and her husband's half-brother Jack shows up to help!! There is so much more that goes on but I will not reveal any secrets!!
There were a lot of moments in this book where I wanted to just scream and say "this is not God"!! The actions of the pastor and the husbands had me on the edge of my seat. Meg Moseley painted a gripping yet compassionate view!!
The characters were all great, especially Jack and the children. I loved Jack because he just seemed so real about who he was and what he believed in. He wasn't afraid to admit that he was a sinner yet he knew how to lead a life worthy to be called a Jesus follower! He might have drunk one or two drinks or smoked a cigar but I felt that just made him more genuine. I have kids the same ages as some of the kids in this book and I felt the author really captured their innocence and energy!
The only thing that bothered me is that I felt like the beginning got off to a rough start. I wasn't sure if I would like it or not and had mixed opinions about Miranda all the way until about half way through the book. However, it did pick up nicely and I'm glad I continued reading.
I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group
for an honest review.
Posted June 9, 2011
When I first started reading this book, I couldn't tell if it was set in modern time or back in the day, but soon realized it was modern time. The way Miranda was "brainwashed" made me so mad at this so called "pastor", and her deceased husband.
I love when Jack came in to the picture and showed the kids what the world had to offer them. You could almost feel the kids excitement when they went through the car wash, and then the joy of getting to wash his car over and over again.
I really liked they way this book ended.
Posted June 8, 2011
I was delighted to receive the review copy of Meg Moseley's powerful, thought provoking debut novel. She gives the reader a peek into how an impressionable young girl falls for an older man and in the process loses more than her freedom, she loses her identity. Meg gives a chilling, believable scenario of what happens to Miranda when she marries a religious man who aims to control every aspect of her life, I couldn't stop reading it!
Miranda's a widow and mother of six children. Her world hasn't changed much since her husband Carl died two years ago. Pastor Mason kept them on the straight and narrow. He visited Miranda's family unexpectedly and constantly reminded Miranda that women should be focused on matters of the home. Mason also told her to never forget Carl was the absolute ruler in her home.
Pastor Mason announced to the whole church he'd heard from the Lord and the whole church was soon to move to another state. Miranda sensed her inner alarm bells ringing. She started to pray that the Lord would give her the courage to stand up to this man who enjoyed playing God and using his congregation like they were puppets. He was a wolf in sheep clothing - she had to expose him for what he was. God help her.
Then college professor, Jack Hanford enters Miranda's life. Miranda is unnerved and relieved that Jack came to help. He just might be the help she needed to expose Mason for what he was. She wasn't sure she could trust him though. Jack sees the strict rules this family lives by. He wanted to help them be free. Free to have fun and enjoy life and each other.
I enjoyed Meg Moseley's writing style and Miranda's six children and how they interacted with their Uncle Jack. Jack was the light in their darkness. Meg reveals many layers of Miranda's complex life. Could she get out of this complicated web? I adored Jack, his love for his nieces and nephews and his passion for teaching young minds. Jack had a strong desire to expose these children to the world around them. First on the agenda was convincing Miranda reading fiction books was a good thing!
Meg's story hooked me from the first page! I like how she handled this tough topic showing a scary scenario of control and one girl's courage to do the right thing no matter what the cost. I was totally absorbed into this story as Meg reminded me of the precious gift we all take for granted - religious freedom - freedom to worship Him and not follow a bunch of rules that kill people's spirit! This was potent. I can't wait to see where Meg takes us next!
Posted June 4, 2011
Wow. That is all I can say about how this book affected me. Miranda is a single mother caught up in a church where the pastor rules by manipulation and guilt--psycological abuse. He decides to move the entire church to another state, claiming the Lord told him to. She knows something isn't right about it but feels powerless to do anything about it. Enter what I think of as a divine accident, which brings her brother-in-law, Jack, to town to take care of her and her six children. Miranda learns about freedom in Christ through Jack, who is at a loss about these harsh teachings that Miranda has lived under. Very well written and fast paced, we are slowly revealed many secrets closely kept in all the character's lives. I felt particularly close to Miranda and could understand her ways, even though I was cheering her on to stand up to this pastor and his church.<br/><br/>When reading this book I felt as if the author were writing my own personal story. I come from a background exactly like Miranda in the book did, and this book forced me to relive many painful memories from my childhood and even into my early adulthood, when I finally was able to escape. However the scars are still there and may always be.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 3, 2011
"When Sparrows Fall" was a wonderful read. It was relaxing yet had the element of anticipation, not knowing what the end will bring. Well written with nuggets of truth I would recommend Meg's first novel to anyone who enjoys reading.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 2, 2011
This is a quiet, yet powerful novel with many layers and wonderfully descriptive language. The reader is immediately drawn into the the tension and conflict between Jack, a kind yet imperfect divorced professor, and his widowed sister-in-law Miranda, a fragile woman with six children who has learned not to speak up for herself. Jack and Miranda are thrust into a situation that they could not have prepared themselves for, and struggle to cope as best they can.
I believe that the author fairly and accurately portrayed the characters - including the delightful, intelligent children, and the issues - especially Jack and Miranda's respective opinions on homeschooling, and the domineering pastor and his church members - who seemed determined to do the right thing, but instead let the pastor run their lives, even when he led them in the wrong direction.
I was easily drawn into this well-written book and its memorable characters as they struggled with loyalty, trust, deception, faith, and love. Highly recommended.
Posted May 31, 2011
Miranda is a widow with six children who is trying to keep things together on her family's remote property in GA. Suddenly, her pastor tells the congregation that God has told him to move everyone to NC. Miranda tries to stand up to him but is told she "shouldn't make waves" and should get ready to sell her property and move. To say that the pastor is legalistic, ultra conservative, and controlling is putting it mildly! Before Miranda can do much about staying put, she has a horrible fall and ends up hospitalized. Enter Jack, her brother-in-law. Jack comes to take care of the children and finds that while they while they are well-mannered and are being home schooled well, much is missing from that education and life. (i.e. computer, freedom in books) He wants to help the children and Miranda as well. Together Miranda and Jack work for the best of the children, disagreeing many times, and find more is in store for themselves. Can Jack help Miranda move from the ultra conservative life she is living enough to breathe? Will she ever get past the ghosts of her past? Can they find peace and love together? And what about Pastor Mason - will he move the group away?
This is the type of book that has me yelling "Run!" to the characters. It is hard to believe that these harsh belief systems still exist today, and Meg Moseley writes about it with compassion and clarity. I loved the characters, especially the children, and loved watching them as the little, subtle changes occurred. Trust was one thing that I watched grow through the story. This book will make a wonderful gift for an individual reader, but groups will also find this book has a wealth of discussion topics. Thank you to the Blogging For Books program for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Posted May 25, 2011
There is no doubt that Meg Moseley is a gifted writer and I am sure we will see more of her work. Her first novel, When Sparrows Fall, is an intriguing page turner about a widow whose life has been full of controlling men. Beginning with her tyrannical husband, who expected complete obedience and submission; and ending with a pastor who required a cult-like loyalty from his congregation; Miranda Hanford finds herself and her six children in a situation that she cannot escape from. Then she has an accident and her estranged brother-in-law comes to help out. Both of them have secrets from the past to work through as they try to do what is best for her family. The result is a story that keeps you turning the pages to the very end of the book to see how it all works out. There were many things to like about this book. Clear, descriptive writing, well developed characters, and an interesting plot that keeps you reading to find out the dreadful secret that Miranda kept so very well for so long. The story gives a glimpse into how good, well meaning people can get themselves caught up into a religious cult without ever realizing what they are doing. I have no doubt that most people will find this book to be a great read and give it wonderful reviews. Having said all that, I must admit that my personal reaction to the book is really one of anger. I am disappointed with the brother-in-law who is supposed to be a Christian but cusses, drinks and smokes, while being so concerned about his nieces and nephews not being "normal". While I understand that many religious cults use homeschooling to indoctrinate the children in their midst, I was surprised to learn that a former home school mom wrote this book and would choose to exaggerate the negative side of home education. As a "retired" home school mom, I am very aware of the public opinion of home schoolers and it is usually not good. I am tired of the Christian market producing book after book that portrays the "home school loonies" of society while being careful to give lip service to those who "do it right". It's high time we had some books that portray the thousands of home schooling families who "do it right" every year and manage to let their children still be normal. Might I suggest that Christian parents can also succumb to the peer pressure of the public school agenda and be brainwashed by that just as easily as by a fanatical cult? I will not recommend this book to anyone. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for an honest review. My opinions are my own.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 3, 2011
A great book goes on sale today called When Sparrows Fall by Meg Moseley. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review and am privileged to have been able to read it before it went on sale.
All Miranda Hanford wants for her and her six children is freedom; freedom from the oppressive ways that they have lived since she was 19 when she married her deceased husband. After her marriage, Miranda quickly learns that her husband and the church they attend are not what they maintain to be, however she finds herself trapped and carrying many secrets. Given the chance to be free, Miranda begins working on a way to get out. But when a serious fall results in her husbands brother-in-law moving in for a while to take care of her and her children, Miranda's plans are threatened.
Jack Hanford is working hard at obtaining his tenure when he receives a call that his sister-in-law, whom he has only met once, has named him guardian of her six children. While at first Jack is unsure what to do with six children he quickly takes to his role and becomes a great father figure in their lives. It is evident to Jack, however, that the lifestyle and beliefs of his brother and the church have left the children sorely lacking in social, Spiritual, and homeschool skills. As Jack begins to work with Miranda and her children to ensure they are well-rounded in all areas, Miranda becomes nervous that Jack will upset things even more.
I won't go on with the story here (though I would so love to throw a spoiler alert at you) because I want to leave you intrigued. I was so taken in by Miranda and how, after her husband's death, she has been slowly working her way toward freedom from an opressive pastor and his teachings and how in the middle of all the mess, she does not lose her faith in God. I was equally impressed with Moseley's portrayal of Jack. Though Jack is a man who likes to push Miranda for answers in ways that may not always work for him, he also has a quiet, gentle strength about him. The more Jack gets to know Miranda and her children, the more he falls in love with all of them and desires to help them.
I was really impressed with Moseley's ability to draw the reader in and keep me interested. I loved how she developed her characters a piece at a time, only revealing details that were necessary at each stage in the story. It wasn't until the very end of the story that the reader finds the entire truth and by that point I was so in love with this family that I found myself feeling every emotion with them. That's what a good book should be like.
I encourage you to download an e-copy for your Kindle today or pick up a paperback at your local bookstore. This will definitely be a keeper on my bookshelf! And please be sure to go to Blogging for Books and rank my review!!
Posted May 2, 2011
I am SO pleased to have had the opportunity to have been introduced to Meg Mosely and her new book. She is truly a fascinating and talented author. I loved her characters flaws, I love her Godly messages, and I loved her writing style. She is a unique, new author and one that I am going to recommend to all my reader friends!
Reading how conservative Miranda's church was, reminded me alot of the church I used to go to. There was no TV allowed , things were VERY strict. That's a lot like the church I used to go to... it was quite a not-so-good experience, so I could really feel a connection with Miranda. To live like that is, well, living like you would in a cult. Brainwashing. Controlling. Quite an uncomfortable life when you look back on it. Like Miranda, I could feel her unease with Mason being the controller of his flock. I could feel her unhappiness right down to the nitty gritty. It was like looking into the mirror and seeing myself.
But, when Miranda becomes hospitalized and her brother-in-law Jack steps up to the plate. Mason is moving is congregation and with Jack's help, Miranda stays behind and is coming to terms with her new faith. Her faith of seeing the real world and trusting in God in a whole new light. Together, Jack and Miranda find a common ground amongst Miranda's 6 children, and they learn the mysteries that make this book a fantastic read!
Definitely a 5 star novel that I recommend to everyone! This is a thrilling, compelling, God filled look at more than one side of Christianity. Walking in a faith that is true to God is a message that stands out strong for me and I can't wait for another novel like this one by this great new author!
Posted May 1, 2011
With more layers than a wedding cake, When Sparrows Fall is a complex story of a mother's devotion that will not leave you untouched. Meg Moseley's characters will climb out of the pages and into your heart. Besides the rebellious Miranda, her children include Timothy, two adorable girls, and Jack dubs her youngest boys "the archangels." As unlikely as the pairing seems, I found myself hoping for romance to bloom between Jack and Miranda, but it seems Timothy had a different idea. Thoroughly enjoyable, Novel Journey and I give it a high recommendation.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 30, 2011
This book deals with the pain that Miranda is going through as she tries to separate herself from an almost cult like Church pastored by something of a control freak. Her pastor, Mason Chandler, has recently heard from God that the Church is to move, and Miranda does not want to move anywhere - for reasons we find out later in the book. She also wishes to be free from Chandler and his flock. Deciding to go after God herself, she decides to fast and pray and in doing so, falls off a cliff, ends up in the hospital and Timothy, her oldest son calls Uncle Jack, her husbands half-brother and legal guardian should anything happen to his mother for help.
Jack, a Ph.D professor arrives and finds the home-schooled family of 6 children incredibly sheltered and slowly introduces them to the 21st century.
The novel deals with a variety of issues however does got explore any of them very deeply. The debate surrounding theology is only briefly touched on, is never resolved and often seems to contradict itself. For example, Jack does not want Miranda and the family to attend a church that allows its members to prophesy, however unquestioningly accepts the prophecy of his friend's father. We are given only hints as to both Miranda and Jack's past, and only on a need to know basis. The facts we are given only raises more questions that are never answered. There is little character development present, and none of the characters' emotions or thought processes are fully explored.
All in all, I think Moseley has talent for writing as her prose is often witty and she has provided us a story with a lot of potential. The main outline of the story is there, however it lacks details and depth - almost like a colouring book where all the drawings are outlined, but none of them filled in with colour.
NB: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review
Posted April 27, 2011
Perhaps the most disturbingly fascinating book I have read in a long time, When Sparrows Fall by Meg Moseley was both well written and thought provoking, such as it is. I admit to a defensive bias, since the book is about a homeschool mom (like me) with six kids 2-3 years apart (like me) and a set of twins (like me). The most significant theme of the book is the danger of extreme seclusion from the world and cult-like religious practices. As such, many valid observations are made as are some invalid inferences. The homeschool Mom has been sucked into the lifestyle, the parenting extremes, and the refusal of birth control, the intense fear of Child Protective Services. After the death of her husband, she struggles to make ends meet and relies on charity from the church family. The preacher turns out to be a charleton, and when she threatens to leave the church he threatens her in return. Enter romantic interest and freedom in the form of her husband's "worldly" brother and you have the plot.
I wasn't really happy about the author's treatment of certain subjects, namely homeschooling and birth control. She implies that anyone who refuses to practice birth control does so out of ignorance. I'm not ignorant. She also implies that homeschooling is dangerous. Although several weak attempts to soften this stereotype are scattered throughout the book probably at the insistence of the publisher, the overall book presents a strong stereotype connecting homeschooling and cultish behavior that does not make me happy. Many will use this book to justify and strengthen they're existing anti-homeschooling stance.
My Bottom Line: I will not be looking for more from this author on my Kindle.