Do you ever find that when God is teaching you something spiritually, you suddenly have a lot of opportunities to practice doing that very thing?
One lesson I have been learning recently, is to be honest about my opinion—even when I’m afraid others won’t like it. As I’ve stepped out in faith and started being honest about my true feelings, I’ve discovered the flip-side of that coin: When you are honest about the hard things, it frees you up to be honest about the good things, too. And that’s an opportunity that well repays the effort, in my opinion!
When I received a free copy of Jayne’s Endeavour in exchange for an honest review, I hoped—like I always seem to do in life—that this time honesty wouldn’t include anything negative. I hate negatives. I hate having to say things that feel uncomfortable and might hurt or disappoint anyone.
The bad news is, that life doesn’t really work that way. But the good news—the flip-side of the coin of honesty—is that when I have the courage to speak hard truths, I also get to enjoy the satisfaction of giving honest praise, too!
Jayne’s Endeavour has certainly given me that opportunity.
So, here goes for my honest opinion . . .
As a nonresistant Christian, I was a bit disappointed that the climax of Jayne’s Endeavour involved justice by force. I wanted to be able to stand behind the main characters in everything they did, and I just wasn’t able to. Even though I didn’t have any reason to think the author held my views on that subject, I was just hoping the topic wouldn’t come up!
There were a few other minor-ish details that I have flagged below for the reader’s benefit, but that was the biggest negative for me.
That being said, I quite enjoyed the story! It was engaging and well-written and captivated my attention. The last number of chapters I was riveted, and the surprising post-climax revelation delighted me. Lauren definitely has an ability with words, and her ending left me annoyed (in a good way!) that the book was over. I don’t think I will be able to help reading the rest of the series, just to find out what happens to the characters!
I enjoyed the Australian flair and kept smiling to myself at such novelties as winter in August, kangaroos wandering around in the wild and the unfamiliar phrases and object names that really added to the flavour of the story.
I also liked the spiritual element. The main character chose to turn to God in the struggles that she faced and never blamed Him for the hardships that came to her. Another positive for me was the way the three sisters related to each other—there was no bickering or unpleasantness, and they seemed to be all in it together. I would guess that the author has positive relationships with her own sisters!
- Title: Jayne’s Endeavour
- Author: Lauren Compton
- Publisher: Long Gully Press
- Genre: Australian historical Christian fiction
- Number of Pages: 276
- Theme: Trusting God in the hard times
- Age Range: 12-18
- Source: Novels that Encourage
Mysterious strangers, a Scripture verse, and a threat.
“Reids never give up.” The words once held so much truth. But at eighteen, Jayne Reid is beginning to wonder if she can live up to that standard.
When puzzling strangers appear and odd things start to happen, Jayne and her two younger sisters must find a solution—or lose everything.
What mystery lurks in the shadows of the Australian bush? Who is the man in town who thinks he can buy and bully anyone he wishes? And is it all somehow connected to their new farmhand?
Journey with Jayne as she struggles to change fear into boldness and boldness into a trusting relationship with her Heavenly Father. What adventure lies ahead?
Jayne’s Endeavour is an engaging story of adventure in a setting that is unfamiliar to most of us. Sprinkled with vivid descriptions and interesting historical and cultural details, Lauren Compton has crafted a story that combines adventure and spiritual truth. All of us can be reminded and encouraged by Jayne Reid and her sisters, as they discover anew the truth that God cares for His children no matter what their circumstances.
SAW Rating System
We have recently altered our reviewing system using the model of our poetry grading worksheet. For an explanation of that system, see our previous intro post.
Command of language—8/10
Impact of the story—6/10
Innocence regarding evil—5/10
Active promotion of good—8/10
Level of spiritual challenge—7/10
Healthy view of life—7/10
Honouring of God—9/10
Items of Note
Romance and morality
The main character has lost both her parents to illness before the story begins. The emotions of grief and fear are portrayed quite vividly.
Three teenage girls choose to continue living on their farm, with a hired man in a father-figure role. Despite his presence, the vulnerability of unprotected women is used as a tool to create tension, although nothing actually materializes.
The villain repeatedly bullies and threatens characters, including at times slightly invading their personal space.
A sensitive child might be bothered by a few items, including a vicious dog attack, and two scenes which involve blood.
Alcohol and drug use (includes tobacco)
Villain is represented smoking a cigar as well as buying spirits and wine. Laudanum is used as a medicine.
The story is written from a Christian perspective—there is no strong denominational or doctrinal bias. Justice by force is considered acceptable—one scene contains gunfire, but no one is seriously hurt. The main character struggles with anger and bitterness towards provoking characters—while she does not always succeed in entirely overcoming these feelings the theme of responding in a godly way and remembering Bible verses in times of temptation is included.
Family roles and behavior
The heroine rides astride a horse in an emergency, causing unkind remarks from townspeople. A brother and sister share the same makeshift bed. The author’s concept of personal space/physical contact (i.e. non-related characters hugging each other, etc.) is a little less conservative than mine—that being said, there is no romance in the story, so it doesn’t pose a real issue.
Mature subject matter
Cow’s teats referred to during milking. A sheep being helped through a difficult delivery is described in detail that would be disturbing to some, but not all, readers.
Jayne’s Endeavour—An Honest Review
One thing that I didn’t really think about until writing this review, was that the lessons Jayne learned and the lessons I need to learn today, are one and the same. In the midst of fear, in the midst of uncertainty, in the midst of dreading things that have to be done or might come upon us—I need to trust the Lord. I need to remember, as Jayne so often recalled her mother saying, that the joy of the Lord is my strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)
I can’t help but think back to the words Lauren penned in the preface to Jayne’s Endeavour:
“Do you know how important it is to be careful what you allow into your heart and mind? God’s Word says:
Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23
God’s Word is the guide to how we know what is good for us. You and I need to measure everything we read (and write) against God’s standards, including Jayne’s Endeavour!
My earnest prayer is that you would grow in your faith and have the strength to obey and trust your heavenly Father. No matter what happens, delight in God.”
Looking for other books you might be interesting in reading? Check out our review of The Courage of Nikolai:
- That Leads, My Saviour, Up to Thee: A FREE Poetry Download from SAW Publishing
- Sheep Among Wolves Book Reviews