All people wish to be free from something--free to live their lives, to believe what they chose, or to be free of the oppression of others. In Sarah’s Wish, a novel by Jim Baumgardner, Sarah loses her mother in a buggy accident and becomes orphaned. She promises to continue her mother’s work in the Underground Railroad, though she is only twelve years old. In the book, Sarah is forced to make grown-up decisions and learn to live without the guidance of her mother.
Sarah’s Wish is a relatively short book with brief chapters, making it easy to read on the go. The story is clearly organized, and the North versus South brogues and twangs in dialogue provide a clear picture of who is speaking. The characters are colorful and alive. The vibrant interaction of Granny, Dr. Baum and Sarah will warm readers’ hearts and keep everyone smiling. Sarah is a memorable character because she only wants to help people but doesn’t always have a good cover story for her secretive good deeds.
Just before Sarah is orphaned, she promises her dying mother that she will continue her work with the Underground Railroad. Throughout the story Sarah has two goals: to help runaways get to freedom and to find a family. Along the way, she is taken in by Granny, an elderly woman with a colorful country drawl and a wealth of knowledge about herbs and medicines. Dr. Baum checks in with Sarah frequently during the book, setting her arm in a cast after the buggy accident and later escorting her and Granny to Louisville to find a family for Sarah. These three characters bond to one another and protect each other against the leers and aggressions of slimy slave catchers.
Sarah is a spirited young woman who hates being called a little girl. She shows a genuine respect for both people and animals, and is loyal to those who love her and clever against those who would harm her or those she loves. She is also an honest young woman who abhors lying. These traits were taught to her by her mother, instructing her about what it means to be a lady, while Granny teaches Sarah to be discerning and to give people a chance before judging them.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Sarah’s Wish and highly recommend it. The structure of the book makes it easy to read in the short breaks of a busy day, and the story is so interesting and well connected, it is understandable even when read in short spurts. – Rebekah Mosolf, Christian Book Previews.com
Sarah's Wish invites you to enter the 19th century world of secrets and broken promises, runaways and slave catchers, colorful gypsies and noisy riverboats, and Granny. Although Granny's hilarious dialect and lively antics are sure to keep you laughing, not all is happy. Emotions take a ride as Sarah's big wish appears hopeless. But when life is at it's darkest, the butterflies come!