"Martha's Freedom Train" and a CONTEST!

Posted by Cindy Beck

Although I usually post something that relates to humor here, once in a while I’ll do a book review. Today, it’s my privilege to review a charming book of historical fiction, written for children by my good friend, C. LaRene Hall.


Martha and her parents escape slavery with the help of many conductors for the Underground Railroad—an escape route set up by people of all colors. They finally have a safe place to stay, but Mama has caught pneumonia and is too ill to travel farther. Papa learns about a wagon train of Mormons traveling west, and he takes Martha to meet them. Her heart almost breaks when he sends her west with these strangers. Martha encounters many exciting adventures along the way. They cross rivers, see Indians and buffalo. She helps put out a fire, and after falling asleep beside the trail, they accidentally leave her behind. Once they reach the Salt Lake valley, she still has choices to make, and Martha wonders how her papa will find her.


This is a delightful story that’s quick reading, and yet contains enough excitement that it’s hard to put down. It’s well written and the characters capture the imagination. Although it’s intended for those ten and older, I found it fun, even as an adult. I liked the moral of the story, that God loves all children regardless of color, and mentally cheered in the section that disclosed Martha had a burning desire to learn to read.

In addition, children and adults alike will enjoy the cute penciled illustrations that depict slices of Martha’s journey. And I loved the pioneer recipes for journey cakes and prickly pear jelly at the back of the book.

Now, if I could just manage to pick a few prickly pears without getting poked …


I thought you might like to know a little about LaRene, so here are a few of her responses to Crazy Eights, a game of tag she participated in earlier this year. If you’d like to read all her answers, click here.

Eight Things C. LaRene Hall Wishes She Could Do:
1. Go along ways away
2. Have more writing time
3. Have more time everyday to do what I want
4. Find someone to publish my next book
5. Travel to new places all the time
6. Have no bills
7. Have enough money to travel
8. Have no weeds in the yard

Eight Shows She Watches:
1. News
2. Perry Mason
3. Murder She Wrote
4. My Three Sons
5. I don’t know what else is on. I don’t start watching anything until after 9 pm
6. This is a hard question and I have no answers.
7. A good movie if there is any on.
8. I don’t watch much TV because I’d rather write or read.

This is your chance to enter a drawing to win a signed copy of Martha’s Freedom Train! Simply do one of the following:

1.Tell your friends about Martha’s Freedom Train by posting this link on either Facebook or Twitter: http://www.authorhouse.com/Bookstore/ItemDetail.aspx?bookid=55282 , and leave a comment here that you’ve done that … OR …

2.Go to Amazon.com (click here) and leave a quick note about Martha’s Freedom Train in the review or discussion section. Something easy like “This book sounds great!” will work just fine. Then, leave a comment here on my blog that you’ve done that … OR …

3.Mention Martha’s Freedom Train on another blog (as an entry or a comment on your own blog, or a comment on a friend’s blog), along with the link, http://www.authorhouse.com/Bookstore/ItemDetail.aspx?bookid=55282 and then leave a comment here that you’ve done that ... OR …

4.Go to LaRene’s blog at http://www.clhall.blogspot.com, leave a comment such as, “I hope to win a copy of your book at Cindy Beck’s blog,” and then leave a comment here telling me you’ve done that.

The winner will be picked next Monday, by a random generator. Or possibly by my dog, Corky Porky Pie, who isn’t quite as random but can’t read, either, and so is guaranteed to be impartial. The winner’s name will be announced next Monday, here at my blog.

Good luck!



Slamdunk said...

Sounds like an interesting book. As part of a job assignment, I had to coordinate local research on Underground Railroad activities--it was great to have a project connecting people and history.

Rachelle Christensen said...

I posted a comment on Connie's blog so far. :)

Unknown said...

I left a comment on the blog for this contest.

Unknown said...

I made a comment on the author's blog for the contest.

Unknown said...

Totally suggested this book on Twitter and FB. You can see my twitter post here: I will also mention it on my blog. I should win this book because both my hubby and I quit our jobs to go to grad school in this economy and now spend more time than ever w/ our daughter! We moved to cheaper home, are now renting and only have 1 car to minimize!

Nichole Giles said...

I have done a blog on this, and will post it on Facebook as well, but since I already own a copy, I don't need to be entered into the contest.

I just wanted to say thanks for sharing your thoughts on this amazing fun book. I agree, it's a keeper.


ali cross said...

I entered! I twittered @ali_cross and I left a comment/review on Amazon.

Thanks for hosting this contest Cindy!

Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen said...

I posted a comment on Connie's blog. Good job, as always, Cindy.

Cindy Beck, author said...

Slamdunk, Rachelle, Niid, Nancy, Nichole, Ali, and Ronda: Thanks a bunch for stopping by to read and comment. As always, I love hearing your thoughts.

Rachelle, Niid, Nancy, Ali and Ronda: Thanks for entering the contest. I'm going out right now to the Random Generator to pick a winner!

Cindy Beck, author said...

The winner of a copy of "Martha's Freedom Train" is ... (drum roll, please) ... NANCY.

Congratulations, Nancy. Please email me your mailing address at bumblebeephoto2(at)yahoo(dot)com.