Thursday, April 3, 2008

Listening For Lions by Gloria Whelan

Gentle, nostalgic, and fueled with old-fashioned girl power, this involving orphan story will please fans of Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic "The Secret Garden" and Eva Ibbotson's "The Star of Kazan" - Booklist, starred review

Listening for Lions tells the story of young Rachel Sheridan, daughter of missionaries running a hospital, church and school for the natives near Nairobi in Africa. In 1919 tragedy strikes the family when a patient is brought to the hospital with the deadly influenza disease, and Rachel loses both her parents to the epidemic.

Alone and friendless among the British who have settled in the area, 13 year old Rachel is taken in by scheming neighbors, the Pritchards. Disowned by their family in England and having lost their own daughter, Valerie, to the epidemic, the Pritchards plan to send Rachel to England in place of their daughter to ensure Grandfather Pritchard, who has never seen his granddaughter, will not write the greedy pair out of his will.

Rachel, sent away from the only home she has never known and forced to live a lie, is terrified that revealing her secret would hasten the elderly gentleman's death and she would be sent to live in an orphanage. Surrounded by greed and lies, Rachel must rely on her irrepressible spirit and dream of returning to her beloved Africa to change from victim into heroine.

Beautifully read by Bianca Amato this book is aimed at young adults and teens. It shows that with a little courage and a lot of determination all dreams are possible.

To request this book from the Jefferson county libraries click here.