Tag Archives: adoption

No Ocean Too Wide

This is a first for me. I’ve been reviewing books for years, and this is the first book that I just couldn’t make myself finish. When reading for pleasure, I typically will jettison a book that doesn’t suck me in within the first few chapters. I gave No Ocean Too Wide a serious try. I read over half of the book! I just couldn’t force myself to go any further. I tried. I really tried.

No Ocean Too Wide was the sort of book I usually love: historical fiction. Set at the turn of the century, it chronicles the story of four siblings, three of which found themselves as “British Home Children”.

Between 1869 and the late 1930s, over 100,000 juvenile migrants were sent to Canada from the British Isles during the child emigration movement. Motivated by social and economic forces, churches and philanthropic organizations sent orphaned, abandoned and pauper children to Canada. Many believed that these children would have a better chance for a healthy, moral life in rural Canada, where families welcomed them as a source of cheap farm labour and domestic help.

After arriving by ship, the children were sent to distributing and receiving homes, such as Fairknowe in Brockville, and then sent on to farmers in the area. Although many of the children were poorly treated and abused, others experienced a better life here than if they had remained in the urban slums of England. Many served with the Canadian and British Forces during both World Wars.

https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/immigration-records/home-children-1869-1930/Pages/home-children.aspx

Having just read Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, I was expecting something similar (I highly recommend Before We Were Yours, by the way!). While there are similarities in the stories, there’s no comparison in the books. I just could not believe how slow-moving the storyline is in No Ocean Too Wide or how little character development there was.

I can’t recommend this one.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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The Grace Effect: How the Power of One Life Can Reverse the Corruption of Unbelief

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There is no arguing with the fact that the Judeo-Christian ethic helped shape the United States Constitution and the government of the United States. Inherent in the formation of our nation is the idea that people are “endowed by their creator” with certain “rights.” The government doesn’t bequeath those rights. They are ours and they are inalienable. Life. Liberty. The pursuit of happiness. When humans are not viewed as having inalienable rights, life becomes cheap — a mere commodity. In his book The Grace Effect, author Larry Taunton compares and contrasts the societies of the United States and the Ukraine through the lens of his family’s experience adopting a Ukrainian girl named Sasha. In the Ukraine, Sasha was a commodity.

The Soviet experiment failed. Life in a Soviet Bloc country was as Hobbs wrote in Leviathan, “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Many countries today are living with the inertia from the Soviet way of life. The Ukraine is one of them. In describing his experiences with corrupt government officials, and people who are resigned to such corruption, Taunton makes a good case for the concept of “common grace.” He writes, “[Common grace is] the idea that when there is a significant Christian presence in a given society, it brings tangible benefits not just to the Christian, but to society as a whole.” When power and money are the only things of value, life, especially the life of a child (or anyone who is not rich or powerful) becomes devalued to the point of worthlessness.

Rather than the dry, theological treatise I had expected after the first chapter, I found the book quite engaging. Throughout the story, I found myself humbled by the strength of a little girl, raised in appalling conditions, who retained her spirit and sense of joy and trust. The Grace Effect is a fascinating read for anyone contemplating the differences between life in the United States and life in a country stripped of any real Christian influence.

***BookSneeze® provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.***

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