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Fire by Night

by Loree Lough
Series: The American Adventure #4
137 pages, Historical Fiction
Reviewed by Lily A.

Young people’s historical fiction with a Christian core.

Plot

Young Philip Smythe leaves off his apprenticeship to be the man of the house and to cover for his irresponsible older brother while their father is away on business in England.

Morality

Taking care of one’s family is highly valued: sacrifices made to do so are rewarded, and neglect or mistreatment of family is vilified. Characters tend to be Christian or of Christian background. At times characters may feel anger or bitterness because of difficult circumstances, but this is resolved by the end of the story. Lies receive mixed treatment, with some seeming to be excused based on the motivation behind them.

Spiritual Content

Characters pray when in distress. A family is said to have left town to follow Roger Williams, famous today as a founder of the Baptist denomination. References are made to Biblical passages on a few occasions. Dead loved ones are said to be with God. At least one character expresses anger or frustration at difficulties he perceives as being God’s fault: a friend corrects him, saying that the problem is man, not God. A man believes God has spoken to him. Hymns are sung to pass the time. Faith founders and is regained.

Violence

One character drowns, and another nearly does. A woman dies, possibly from a fall, although details are unclear. A man was unjustly threatened by a mob in the past. A city is severely damaged by a storm. A house is burned down. Characters fistfight. A character sarcastically jokes about committing an armed robbery. When very angry, someone says a character “ought to be hung”. Animals are killed for food.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Characters administer and ingest a potent herbal remedy for an illness. One character develops a drinking habit, which is not condoned.

Sexual Content

A woman gives birth, and another is said to be pregnant.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

There isn’t really any crude language. “Stinkpot” is used as an insult. References are made to ale and high-risk gambling.

Conclusion

“Fire by Night” is a mildly adventurous slice of life story set in Colonial Boston, with a smattering of information on period handicrafts such as metalworking. It contains some mature content, in the form of the drinking and gambling issue, but this seems to be dealt with in a healthy manner.

People portrayed here are not perfect. They fall, they struggle, and they lose their tempers and simmer over their disappointments. But in the end, after failure and loss, and even in mourning, there is hope and happiness, and God is in control.

Teens and pre-teens looking for Christian historical fiction may enjoy this book. I did.

Fun Score: 4
Values Score: 4.5
Written for Age: 11-12

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