Reviews by Nissa Annakindt

Black Jack

by Max Brand

The story begins with the death of an outlaw, Black Jack, which is witnessed by a spinster and her lazy brother. Black Jack had an infant son, now orphaned, and the brother and sister discuss the topic of nature vs. nurture. The spinster determines to raise the infant and make an honest man of him. Her brother bets the child will kill a man before age 25.

Fast forward to just before the boy's 25th birthday. The spinster's brother, fearing his sister will disinherit him in favor of her adopted son, arranges for the boy, Terry, to discover his father's identity and to meet the man who killed his father from ambush. Terry challenges his father's killer and shoots the man in a fair duel. Terry then flees his home in disgrace.

Terry tries to live an honest life but no one will trust the son of Black Jack to be an honest man. He keeps encountering members of his father's criminal gang, and in the end moves in to the headquarters of the gang, where the gang leader's daughter falls for him.

Terry seems to be going to the bad, killing a man in a shootout and planning and executing a robbery. Is he doomed to follow in his father's footsteps, or can he be saved by the love of a good woman? Read the book to find out.

Reviewed on 2013.04.29

Moni the Goat-Boy

by Johanna Spyri

Solomon, nicknamed Moni, was a happy-go-lucky Swiss boy who had the best job in the world--- goat-boy to his home village. Every day he lead the goats up high on the mountain to graze. Sometimes the goats got into dangerous places, but he wasn't afraid to rescue them because he trusted in the Lord.

Things changed when Moni's friend Jörgli confides his intention to sell a valuable piece of jewelry he found. Moni protests that this isn't right, but Jörgli offers to save the life of Moni's favorite goat, who is destined to be butchered, in exchange for his silence.

Moni agrees, but he's no longer the happy goat boy he was. When he realizes he will no longer dare to go to the Lord for help if he needs to rescue a goat from danger in the mountain pasture, he realizes he must tell the truth even if it costs his favorite goat her life.

This is an excellent dramatic story for all ages. The Swiss Alps background is very charming. The Christian orientation that is a part of the story will please Christian readers but may offend those biased against that faith.

The author, Johanna Spyri, is also the author of the children's classic 'Heidi'.

Reviewed on 2011.08.13

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