Ruth Marlene Friesen: Welcome!
This site is like Ruthe,
the heroine of my novel,
Ruthe's Secret Roses
Ruthe is . . .
intimate with God,
prays a lot,
a bleeding heart for the hurting,
a big sister,
has creative ideas,
likes to give
loyal to friends,
dreams of love and
dreams of writing a book
goes the extra mile
So this site offers;
good books to read!
help to become Friends with Jesus,
The One Ideal Real Friend
a cure for loneliness
An Older Sister's Coping Secret
how to pray Panic Prayers,
how to grow in faith
how to share your faith
Psst! I've got FREE taste treats of the novel ready for YOU! DOWNLOAD the first 3 chapters as an
eBOOK in beautiful colours, or read the first 8 chapters on this site, if you have time to stay a while. Start READING HERE!
OR, you can subscribe to a daily series of installments by email until you have read the 8 Chapter Sampler:
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"God, give ME a Friend!" Is that your heart's cry? If you feel friendless, you will be thrilled to meet Ruthe and her BEST Friend, whom she loves to share! Get the book; "Ruthe's Secret Roses.
A Book I can Highly Recommend
Mandie and the Secret Tunnel
the first in a series by Lois Gladys Leppard
published by Bethany House Publishers
Titles 2 - 10 are:
Mandie and the Cherokee Legend
Mandie and the Ghost Bandits
Mandie and the Forbidden Attic
Mandie and the Trunk's Secret
Mandie and the Medicine Man
Mandie and the Charleston Phantom
Mandie and the Abandoned Mine
Mandie and the Hidden Treasure
Mandie and the Mysterious Bells
This series for girls ages 9 - 12 has been around for about 20 years. Several generations of girls
have read them fondly collected them or borrowed and traded with friends so they could read as much
of the set as possible.
But I have only come to them late in my life, well into my 50s, and so my joy is still fresh. Now,
I'm a writer myself, so it didn't take me long to spot a few weaknesses, but over all, the first 10
books I've read were like a box of chocolates, as soon as I'd finished one, I was reaching for the
next Mandie book.
Two things I would do differently if I were writing this series.
One, Mandie's kitten called Snowball, would be a cat by the second book. Most pre-teen girls must
also recognize that a kitten is only a kitten for a few weeks. Two months? Each mystery or adventure
takes place over a few weeks or a month. I found one online bookstore, ChristianBook.com, that
carries them up to # 38!
I told myself that perhaps where the author grew up all cats are referred to as kittens. Somehow
that didn't settle it for me though.
Secondly, while the dialogue for the black servants in the stories sounds quite authentic, that of
the Cherokee Indians strikes me as odd. They skip words and speak in phrases rather than complete
sentences, but otherwise they pronounce all the big English words perfectly. People who speak
English as a second language generally have something of an accent, and will throw in the odd word
from their mother tongue.
As an adult I recognize that the plot has to be kept fairly simple, yet the characterization of
Mandie and the main characters in her life are done well enough to make them seem quite real.
Even the adventures and mystery-solving, which might seem idealistic and coloured a bit too vividly
for a mature adult, I can see are just right for a pre-teen girl, and since I enjoyed them, perhaps
I haven't fully grown up after all.
To sketch the main outline of the series, in the first book, Mandie is at the grave side of her
father in a small back-woods community of North Carolina. Here mother uses her as a servant, and is
eyeing her next husband, while her pampered older sister is keen on getting a boyfriend. All at
once Mandie finds herself sent to another home to be their servant, particularly to look after a new
Her father has assigned an Indian friend, Uncle Ned, to keep an eye on Mandie, and he visits her
once a month by moonlight. Because her situation is unhappy, he suggests taking her to the town of
Franklin to her uncle's place.
Her uncle isn't home but the servants take her in and treat her well. When word comes that her uncle
had died while travelling in Europe, others show up who want to lay claim to the inheritance.
This is where the curious Mandie and her next door friend, Polly, take to exploring a secret tunnel
and hidden rooms upstairs. In the end, her Uncle John appears, having hidden with Uncle Ned and his
Cherokee relatives. He is able to introduce Mandie to her real mother, and reveal her true family
and relatives, including the fact that she is part Cherokee, through her grandmother.
Her mother is from a high society family in Asheville, and was told her baby had died. John has been
proposing to her for years, but she was still mourning her first husband, Jim. Now Mandie persuades
them to marry, and she has a happy new home.
In fact, Mandie Shaw is really set free to do as she likes, and she loves to explore and find
answers to problems. That's what gets her into and out of trouble throughout the rest of the
Going to visit her Cherokee relatives, she makes new friends, and goes exploring in a cave, only to
discover gold. Mandie goes along on the train taking that gold to a bigger bank, after the Cherokee
vote to give it to her, for they don't want to be tainted by it. Bandits dressed as ghosts attack
the train and take away the car with the gold, but Mandie and her friends find themselves in the
thick of a dangerous adventure, being kidnapped, and escaping and solving the mystery when they
find the lost and hurt Uncle Ned.
Then Mandie is sent off to the finishing school her mother attended in Asheville. Here she finds new
adventures when she and a room mate explore the forbidden attic, and in another volume, they
discover the contents of a certain trunk.
Home for a Thanksgiving holiday she runs into a medicine man as she tries to solve why the hospital
being built for the Cherokees is knocked down every night. They've just finished that when her
family goes to visit friends in Charleston, and of course, there's a mysterious phantom to undo.
Then back at home again for another holiday, Mandie and her friends want to know why her family's
abandoned ruby mine has such strange goings on. The discovery of the story behind her aunt Ruby who
died so young and tragically really touched me!
Thus the series goes on. I've finished the first ten books. I know where I can find some more.
Back to index of Reviews
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