Exactly how one little family can figure so greatly in helping to prepare for an upcoming battle between two nations makes for fascinating reading in an amazing fictional story called Secrets of the Home Wood: The Sacrifice by Julie Whitley. As a reader, I was extremely nervous about what would be revealed in the Home Wood. An emotional crisis between a woman, Sarah James, and her husband David, inadvertently leads them deep into the Home Wood, an area long forbidden to all of them. This astoundingly fresh, and brightly hued forested world stretches and prickles the imagination in every way.
Then their son Jonathon traces his father's steps into the Home Wood drawing readers along on a unique and unpredictable journey. This family are soon forced to re-examine their values and priorities. Forging new relationships with myriad inhabitants of the Home Wood is a huge adventure with many surprises. unfolding. The first inhabitants they meet are called the San, and from the tips of their long ears down to their toes, they struggle with similar misunderstandings, trials and triumphs as the James family. The San leader has heirs who are also San warriors. Their relationship issues are compounded by imminent war with mighty opponents who had once been peaceful allies.
This story is written with thoughtful personal reflections from Sarah, David, and Jonathon as they find inner resources enhancing leadership, empathy, courage, and the meaning of sacrifice. The author skillfully alternates chapters written from their individual perspective. This lends to the suspense, and it's easy for readers to discern what each character has at stake, and how they face every unique challenge arising from every unexpected turn. The story and the characters are both wonderfully human and creatively magical. This mythical fiction effectively reflects ancient and current themes of the politics behind wars, various strategies, and the histories between warring nations. With an ordinary human family and extraordinary creatures, Ms. Julie Whitley has meticulously created a one-of-a-kind fictional allegory of historical battles that everyone can surely learn from. I recommend this book for all, and I do hope this author has envisioned a sequel to this incredible adventure.
-Book Review written by Laurie Fisher and edited on January 25, 2016