When Sparrows Fall is a beautiful, character-driven, debut novel by Atlanta author, Meg Moseley. Meg's website description of her novels couldn't be more accurate: "Realism, faith, and a funny streak." Written with humor and poignancy, When Sparrows Fall is the story of a young woman's quest to reclaim freedom and safety, for herself and her children.
A widow and mother of six, Miranda Hanford leads a quiet, private life. When the pastor of her close-knit church announces his plans to move the entire congregation to another state, Miranda jumps at the opportunity to dissolve ties with Mason Chandler and his controlling brand of “shepherding.” But then Mason threatens to unearth secrets only he knows, and Miranda feels trapped, terrified she’ll be unable to protect her children.
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.
To put it simply, I loved this book and hated to see it end, because I wanted to spend more time with this engaging family.
Nineteen-year-old Miranda fell in love with a fellow college student, not realizing the severe impact his beliefs would have in her life. While Carl had been a fortress, she hadn't known that "a fortress could be a prison." A widow with six children when the story opens, Miranda is conflicted as she struggles to free herself from the power her pastor holds over his rural congregation. "Sometimes she wasn't even sure she wanted freedom. Freedom wasn't safe."
Jack is a delightful character who is willingly thrust into Miranda's life while she recuperates from a fall. He persistently questions Miranda about the church's beliefs, urging her to search for what the Scriptures actually teach. "Mason's stolen your freedom. Your ability to think for yourself. All in the name of God." His love for the children and concern for Miranda give an urgency to his questioning, yet he exhibits a quiet, gentle strength.
One of the best parts of this book is the children. In a story involving six children, I would normally have a difficult time keeping up with "who's who," but Meg did a wonderful job at fleshing them out so that each child becomes memorable and captures your heart. They are the light in contrast to the darkness of Mason's teachings. It is a joy to watch them open up as Jack exposes them to fiction and other things that most children take for granted - their first visit to Wal-Mart, for instance. Jack proclaims . . .
"Every day's a school day. The world is our classroom. We'll take a field trip." . . . Wal-Mart might as well have been Tiffany's; the children, refugees from a third-world country. Dazzled, they stared at everything - and everyone - and their fellow shoppers stared back.
Meg is a gifted writer who uses her words skillfully. I'm familiar with the area around the northeast Georgia town of Clayton and thought she did a great job at describing the Blue Ridge mountain scenery and creating a sense of place. I particularly liked the scene where she describes how a distant view of mountains and stream made Jack think back to when he had seen a baptism long ago. "The white-robed figures and the voices singing without instruments had made him feel shut out, like a time traveler whose modern mind was too sterile, too barren, to grasp an ancient mystery. The lake could have been the Jordan River, and the preacher could have been John the Baptist."
Spiritual themes are subtly woven throughout this novel, and I felt that Meg showed respect and dignity as she reveals what life is like in a fringe, cult-like rural church. I highly recommend When Sparrows Fall to those who enjoy character-driven, inspirational fiction.
To learn more about Meg and her books, visit megmoseley.com.
I'd like to end with a clip from the last few pages that conveys the essence of When Sparrows Fall . . .
The rain began to fall in earnest again, tapping on the porch roof and filling the air. Water, water, everywhere. The stuff of miracles. Water, walked on. Turned to wine. An ark tossed about on it. Water and earth made mud. Mud to heal a blind man's eyes. Earth to entomb a man, and the voice of God to call him out. . . . "I'm a sinner, Lord," Jack whispered, "but I'm Your sinner. May I always be in a condition accessible to mercy. So may we all." . . . Jack leaned his head against Miranda's and tried to take it all in. The children in the rain. The pink petals like snow. The water running like a river, the washing of feet, the holy communion of saints. And every day was Easter. Her head moved against his cheek as she followed the flight of a handful of sparrows against the dappled sky, their wings edged with light. So many sparrows. Only God could count them all.
Have you ever done something that was worth it to protect your children from those who harm them ? Miranda Hanford , a widow and a mother to six children has lived the past few years in fear for her family and of her children being taken off her by Social Services. She also belongs to a church of sorts that fellowships under Pastor Mason. When allegations strike against Mason , he insists that God is calling him to move their church and he persuades the women of the church to sell their houses and follow him like God's sheep. Miranda though, has no intention of moving and when an accident occurs and she finds herself in hospital - she contacts the one person she can count on - her husband's half-brother Jack Hanford. As Jack arrives, it seems that the Hanford household is about to undergo a hurricane of sorts as Jack's ways and viewpoints are the complete opposite of Miranda and soon we read as Jack introduces the children to the 22nd Century of Frosted Flakes, Dr Seuss and Jeans and Pretty Dresses. When Miranda is released , she finds her household turned upside down and soon her religious views and beliefs are on the fence. Can Miranda find the courage with Jack to leave Mason's Church and start standing up for herself and in the process rediscover what it is like to have freedom and fun :). Find out in When the Sparrows Fall , a great novel to read by Meg Moseley.
I passed this book up the first time and after reading the reviews on it, I was bummed I had not picked it. When it appeared again, I jumped at the chance to read it and I was not disappointed at all. This is one of those books you read that you just "really like". It was hard to believe this was her first novel and I hope she keeps writing, The storyline deals with Miranda, a widow, with six children to raise by herself. She has a controlling pastor that wants to move the flock (a call by God) to another area and wants the congregation to foot the bill with their land sale. Miranda refuses to sell her land so the pastor threatens her to reveal secrets from her past. The plot thickens when Miranda falls from a cliff and is hurt. Enter her brother-in-law Jack who is a widow also to take care of her kids while she is in the hospital. Miranda named him legal guardian of her children while she recovers. Jack discovers that the kids are so sheltered and brings life and change into the family. The kids had never seen marshmallows!!. Jack can't understand Miranda and her secrets and keeps trying to persuade her to let him help her while falling in love with her. The ending was a surprise and her secret was a surprise also. This is just a joy to read. Thanks to Waterbrook/Multnomah for my free copy to review just for my honest opinion
About the book: Miranda grew up as a normal American girl, blue jeans and bicycles, movies and popcorn, music and books. She goes off to college and meets a man that treats her like she was the best thing ever. Naturally, she falls in love. And they get married. Soon he is asking her to throw away her music and books, because they pull her away from God. Then she needs to dress differently, more conservative, as to refrain from attracting attention to her body. Once she starts having children, she stays home more, only seeing people at church.
One day her husband falls of the roof while repairing it, and dies. By this time she has realized that her church isn't all it's cracked up to be. When the pastor claims to hear from God, he is usually looking out for himself. When he tells the congregation they have to leave the state and settle somewhere else, she decides to stay.
After having an accident near her home, leaving her with a mild concussion, her brother-in-law comes to stay with her six children. Even after she arrives home from the hospital, Jack stays. Now she only has to figure out how to avoid moving with the church, even though the pastor is threatening her, and keep her family safe.
Jack Hanford feels like he has stepped back into time. His half-brother's wife needs his help. So he takes a leave of absence from his job at the college to move in with Miranda and her children. He finds out that even though Miranda homeschools her children, they have never read a fiction book. They have never been to see a movie, gone to an amusement park, or even gone to Wal-Mart. Jack sets out to try to free Miranda and her children by introducing them to life outside their four walls.
My thoughts: My first thought when finishing this book is Wow! Meg Moseley does such an excellent job portraying a widow with no where to turn. Watching this story unfold is like watching a butterfly emerge from the cocoon. At first you wonder what will emerge. Will the butterfly even make it, will it survive the harshness of life and take flight? Or will it give up before it's life has even begun? Slowly the wings appear, closed, looking totally lifeless. You hold your breath, waiting. And then, in an instant, it happens. The butterfly fully frees itself from the confines of the drab cocoon and take flight for the first time.
When Sparrows Fall is just like that butterfly. Reading, watching as Miranda emerges from a beat down, scared widow to a woman protecting herself and her family and finding life and love again.
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!
Nora St.Laurent The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org Finding Hope Through Fiction www.psalm516.blogspot.com
This book was a wonderful read. Miranda Hanford is a quiet, widow and mother to six children. Mason Chandler, an extremely controlling pastor who wants his entire congregation to move to a different state. But praise the Lord for Jack Hanford, Miranda’s deceased husband’s brother, who comes to help her out after she falls from a cliff. He starts to fall in love with Miranda and all the children. But Miranda must let go of the past, face her challenges, one of which is Jack and the other is Mason Chandler. Let the secrets be revealed and love prevail.
Meg Moseley is a wonderful writer and I look forward to reading more of her books.
Disclosure: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. Be sure to read an excerpt or chapter and be prepared to purchase the book to find out what happens. Wonderful reading.
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.
This is the story of Miranda Hanford a widow and mother of six who lives a quiet and private life. When her pastor Mason Chandler announces his plans to have all the congregation of his close knit cult like church to sell their property and move to another state Miranda decides not to follow. She has lived under this strange conservative lifestyle since she married Carl Hanford. Mason is determined that she will do as he says or he will reveal her hidden secrets and destroy her family. When Miranda has an accident, Timothy her oldest son calls Jack Hanford, her estranged brother-in- law who has been named legal guardian of the children. Jack comes and helps with the children but this also bring complications. Jack is worried about Miranda and the children and he is determined to find out what is behind all their ways and Miranda's fears. Will Jack be albe to help and will Miranda find freedom.I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review I did not receive any monetary compensation for this post. Any opinions expressed are my own.
"When Sparrows Fall" is the story of the redemption of Miranda Hanford, widowed mother of six. Deeply entangled in a cult-like church, Miranda panics when her pastor orders all church members to immediately sell their property and move to another location. She has no intention of selling or moving, yet her pastor knows her darkest secret and threatens to tell if she refuses to cooperate. As Miranda fasts and prays over her desperate situation, God brings help in an unexpected way.
I loved this story. Miranda’s children were adorable, and author Meg Moseley brought out each of their personalities for her readers to enjoy. And, though Miranda’s choices often seemed strange, Moseley explained the history and psychology behind each. Readers can’t help but sympathize with Miranda and cheer her on to the end.
Likewise, Moseley made Miranda’s brother-in-law into a character the reader could struggle along with. Earnestly trying to help Miranda and her children, he has his own ghosts to chase away. He makes mistakes and realizes it, but he doesn’t give up on the family he’s coming to know. His heart for them is in the right place.
I recommend this story of truth, mercy, forgiveness, and God’s amazing love. I received a complimentary copy from Waterbrook Multnomah for my honest review, and I enjoyed the read!
Meg Mosley's debut novel is a gem! It will stir your heart and make you think deeply about your faith and your family. I am a former homeschooler (5 kids who are all grown), and I was delighted to see her take on this topic as a background for her story. Her characters are well developed and memorable. The word choice and writing itself is beautiful. I highly recommend this book.
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.
Miranda Hanford is a widowed mother of six children, living under the strict guidance of her pastor, Mason Chandler. For several years, Miranda has felt trapped by the teachings and lifestyle practices enforced by Mason. When Mason announces a plan to move his flock to another state, Miranda questions his plans and his authority. Sensing the obstacle that Miranda poses to his carefully laid plans, Mason threatens to unearth past secrets that could destroy Miranda's family.
An unfortunate accident and subsequent recovery leaves Miranda unable to care for her children. The arrival of Miranda's estranged bother-in-law, Jack Hanford, is both a help and a complication. As a comparably worldly college professor, Jack questions the family's ultra-conservative lifestyle. His presence makes waves in Miranda's home and with Mason, but he also opens the doors to truth and freedom. Can Miranda's body, mind, and soul heal in time to break free of the shackles that have bound her so tightly?
When Sparrows Fall is a story of fear and loss, secrets, freedom, love, and faith. Moseley tackles the heavy subject of cult-like religious practices with gracefulness and splashes of humor. While the novel conveys the unyielding framework and psychological shackles of religious extremists, it remains enjoyably introspective and engaging. Moseley introduces well-crafted characters, including a cast of charming children, whose antics lighten the mood. The message of When Sparrows Fall is uplifting and thought-provoking and will be a wonderful novel for reading groups as well as individuals. I highly recommend When Sparrows Fall and look forward to other books by Meg Moseley.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Multnomah/ WaterBrook Press through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
I bought this book based solely on the synopsis on the back cover and I'm so glad I did. Meg Moseley has written a top notch novel and I look forward to reading more of her work. She has the unique ability to set her readers smack dab down in the middle of the story, feeling as if they know every character. I won't go into the synopsis in case someone hasn't read the book, so as not to spoil it for them. This book had romance, inspiration, mystery and a pastor who isn't happy unless he controls every member of his congregation and has their very lives under his thumb. Meg Moseley is a writer you'll want to keep track of.
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!!
A very sweet and romantic book but enough mystery and intrigue to make it not be too sappy! There are actually a few different mysteries going on during the book which makes you want to keep turning each page to find out more. I would definitely recommend this book.
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.
Miranda Lambert has found herself in quite a predicament. Her husband, Carl, had a nasty fall off of the roof two years ago and left Miranda the sole provider for their six kids. His life insurance and charity from the church keeps them afloat, and Miranda sells a photograph from time to time, even though she has been reprimanded about such things. Pastor Mason always seems to keep her in line, with threats or comments about her losing her children. The last time being at a meeting called by the pastor after the other widows left, Miranda informed him she and her kids would not be moving when the church did, needless to say Pastor Mason was not pleased. She did not believe it was God’s will for her to leave Slades Creek. On top of all of these two weeks later Miranda has landed herself in the hospital, she took quite a fall off of the cliff behind the house while trying to get a picture. Her oldest, Timothy found her and called the ambulance. Timothy also found the letter his mother had previously told him about in case anything happened to her. Timothy did as the letter instructed and called Jack Hanford. Jack was Carl’s half-brother; Carl had run Jack off when he stopped to visit. At that time Jack had met and visited with Miranda and the two kids, then Carl came home. Now this letter was saying that if anything happened to Miranda Jack was left guardian of the kids. He was overwhelmed and Timothy was scared. Jack instructed Timothy that he would be there as soon as he could get there. Jack found quite a few surprises when he arrived, the main one being there were six kids instead of two. Jack quickly realized life was different for this family. They dressed differently, they did not attend public school, they were not aloud to read fiction, they had never been to the library, they did not know what Frosted Flakes were, they had never ate out and those were the most obvious differences. He felt these kids were being deprived all to succumb to a religion or was it a cult? Does Miranda recover and make it home? Does Jack overstep his bounds by introducing these children to the real world? Do Pastor Mason and the church back off or do they try to cause problems? Can Jack reach Miranda or does she detest him for interfering? Read when sparrows fall to find out all the answers to these questions and many more.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It kept my interest and I wanted to see what was going to become of this young family. I fully recommend it.
I received this book free from Waterbrook-Multnomah Publishing as part of their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
I absolutely loved this book. It was a book that makes you think about how you are being influenced by the outside world or people in your life. This can be ministers, husbands, or relatives. It is a book that made me look at what is going on in my life.
This is about a lady that lost her husband 2 years before. She is homeschooling her children and attending a very conservative church. Almost like an Amish church but they do have electricity. The woman is in a very serious accident and her brother-in-law is called in to watch the kids. There are twists and turns in every area of this story including the brother-in-law. He doesn't realize that he has been made guardian if something happens to her since he didn't really even know the family at all.
You find that this woman is questioning the church she has been attending. She questions the man that has been leading the church. She has to dig deep inside herself and trust that God will take care of her family. She has to lend on people she didn't think she could. She has to trust.
I definitely think this book is worth reading I loved it. There is mystery and a good love story.