Books We Read: Restoration Colonies, the Age of Louis XIV… and My Favorite Book This Year!

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This week, we studied the Restoration Colonies and the age of Loius XIV.

Next week, we’re looking at dissenters in America and the age of reason.  Look for that post next Friday!

(Again, this isn’t a comprehensive list of our resources… just some of the extra reading we enjoyed.)

Fire by Night, Loree Lough (Historical Fiction, Grades 4-6)

This book in the series was a little harder hitting than the first three, contrasting the hard work and diligence of 14 year old Phillip (and his crisis of faith) with the drunken gambling of his married brother John.  In the end, repentance and redemption ruled the day.  The Smythe family (now extended to several families) survived (well, most of them) the cyclone that hit Boston, flattening much of the town.  Phillip is forced to care for his family when his father sails to England to work for the king.  Harvard University, Roger Williams, Salem, and King Charles I all play roles in this engaging story.  The boys and I are really enjoying this series.  It centers (so far) on the Smythe boys, although it does incorporate the girls.  I appreciate the values taught, as well as the opportunity to “experience” early colonial life.

This is book #4 in The American Adventure series – 48 consecutive books from Barbour.  Though the series is out of print, it was produced in the late 1990′s, and there are still lots of copies floating around.  I got most of mine in a large lot on eBay.  When I’m looking for a series, that’s my favorite way to buy, as it really lowers the cost of shipping (per book).

Blackthorn Winter, Douglas Wilson  (Historical Fiction, Grades 4-6)

Can I just mention that this is a pretty book?  Glossy pages, full color paintings by Peter Bentley, and little flourishes textually… you don’t see pretty books very often.  Now if this were just a handsome glossy paperback tome, it might be worth gracing the library shelves with.  However, Blackthorn Winter is so much more.  So far this year, it is my very favorite book.  Douglas Wilson has woven a tale of desperate family circumstances, pirates, treasure, and adventure together with godly teachings, resourcefulness, integrity and virtue.  He has done it well, so that the book is not a lecture, nor is it squeaky clean.  There are battles and deception, yet the descriptions are devoid of wanton gore, and consequences follow the sins committed.  The story is set in Chesapeake Bay during the reign of Queen Anne.  Well done, Mr. Wilson and Veritas Press.  Blackthorn Winter will remain upon our shelves for generations.

Courage and Conviction; Volume 3: Chronicles of the Reformation Church, Mindy and Brandon Withrow (Church History, Grades 4-6)

See more about the History Lives series in Church History Worth Selling Your Silverware For. I couldn’t imagine not including this excellent book in our studies of the Reformation, so I am reading it aloud as we go.

This week, we read  a biographical sketch:  “John Bunyan: When I Fall, I Arise”, about the time Bunyan spent in prison, and the writing of his great work The Pilgrim’s Progress, and its parallel to his own life.  We read a second biographical sketch:  “John Eliot: Apostle to the Indians” which nearly had me in tears.  The story is during the time of Philip’s War, when the Algonquians (Christian Native Americans) were exiled – by European settlers –  to a small island with no supplies, and no food, in the dead of winter.  Those who left the island were shot.  Many who stayed died.  John Eliot produced the Algonquian Bible, America’s very first Bible.  We also read a short article:  “Other Reformation Christians”, covering nine additional Christians during the Reformation and “Enlightenment and Awakening”, about the close of the Reformation, the appearance of Deism and the blossoming of the Evangelical movement.

That was the close of Courage and Conviction.  We’ll be moving on to Hearts and Hands, also by Mindy and Brandon Withrow, in a few weeks.

Colossians , 1 Thessalonians  and 2 Thessalonians (The Bible!)

The boys reported feeling ‘encouraged’ and ‘gratified’ by these three books.  I don’t know what that means as far as what they’re learning, but I am quite confident the Holy Spirit has it under control!  (And we do other in-depth studies together, so this is really their time in the Word).  Anyway, encouraged and gratified is pretty good.  :)

What did your family read last week?

~ Danika Cooley

Danika Cooley is a freelance children’s writer with a love for God’s Word, history, wisdom and small people. Her work has appeared in magazines including Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr., Pockets, Devozine, Keys for Kids, and Cobblestone Group’s FACES and Odyssey and in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters.  

This post is linked to Holy Spirit-led Homeschooling.


    • says


      The Restoration period in England came after the English Civil War (when King Charles I was executed). The Restoration Colonies are New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and South Carolina. :)

      We read aloud a LOT. Several hours a day. However, many of the books in the “Books We Read” post on Fridays are books the boys read to themselves as part of literature. They probably read silently about an hour and a half a day (not all at once… we like to run around the house in between books!). I think that reading is such a foundational skill, that we really focus on it. However, because they do so much independent literature work, I read their history (which I don’t list on the blog), their science, and any additional books (biographies, worldview, etc) out loud. Lemon and honey tea sounds like a good plan! :)

      Thanks for joining us!

      ~ Danika

  1. says

    Missed this comment. Thanks for the explanation. I’d never heard of those colonies refered to by that title. I’ll let my dh who’s a native of one of them know.

    Your house sounds a lot like ours. I’m always posponing assigning a chore because I love to see them snuggled in with a good book!

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