Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Andrea Carter and the San Francisco Smugglers

Andrea Carter and the San Francisco Smugglers, is Susan Marlow's fourth historical fiction novel centering around headstrong, fiery Andrea Carter and her life in California in the 1880s. In this book, Andrea is sent to boarding school in San Francisco while her town and school recover from floods. Andrea doesn't like boarding school and can't wait to get home, but Andrea Carter fans will be pleased to see her acting more mature and less impulsive. However, she still has cause to exhibit the characteristic courage and determination we have grown to love.

When Andrea crosses the headmistress and tries to escape through the kitchen, she stumbles upon a young Chinese girl being horribly mistreated by the cook. When Andrea protests to the headmistress, she is told to mind her own business and not meddle in the affairs of the cook and his "niece." Of course, Andrea spends as much time as possible with the horses, and has learned to trust the stable hand, Juan Carlos. When Andrea asks Juan Carlos about Lin Mei, the Chinese girl, he explains the common Chinese practice of buying and selling young girls as slaves, and passing them off as relatives. However, he also warns Andrea not to meddle, in case she makes things worse for Lin Mei.

Andrea tries her best to listen to Juan Carlos, but she hasn't bargained on the strong opinion of her roommate, Jenny, who is even more impetuous than Andrea! Just when it seems Andrea will have to give in to Jenny's schemes, the decision is made for them. The girls find Lin Mei hiding under their bed, and the headmistress is accusing Lin Mei of stealing her most valuable jewelry. The girls try to get Lin Mei to the Occidental Mission Home for Girls, but are captured by slave traders and left in a warehouse overnight. They escape and finally make it to Andrea's aunt's home and safety.

What I Like: I really like the way Andrea is growing and maturing. She learns lessons in each book, and in The San Francisco Smugglers we see her try to put those lessons into practice. Andrea relies on God and prayer to help Lin Mei until He makes it clear she must do something.

I especially like the historical information Marlow includes about the Chinese slave trade in California in the late 1800s. Marlow opens readers' eyes to the mistreatment of young Chinese girls and also inspires us through Andrea's courageous actions. Marlow also includes information and a website about the missionaries who ran the Occidental Mission Home for Girls.

What I Dislike: Nothing

Overall Rating: Excellent

Age Appeal: 8-12

Publisher Info: Kregel Publications, 2008; ISBN: 978-0-8254-3446-4; Paperback, $7.99

Buy it Now at Christianbook.com for $5.99

OR Buy it at Amazon.com for $7.99.

Look here for other CCBR reviews of Andrea Carter's adventures!

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