I was delighted to find that there were sequels to a treasured childhood favorite of mine, The Bridge by Jeri Massi, which I've reviewed before. This is the second in the trilogy. Apparently they were put out by Bob Jones University Press, which explains why they're pretty much unknown except to homeschoolers. As I recall though, they aren't overtly Christian, just moral. I think she wrote some other really good books I read as a child, too... I should find those and read them again.
The publisher’s note says Jeri Massi wrote the trilogy imitating the genre of “wise woman” stories, “popular for combining high adventure with good moral lessons for children.” This is the sort of statement that seems almost intended to make me lose my appetite for reading! Moral lessons are good and all, but often people who write stories for the purpose of imparting moral lessons aren’t very good writers, and the stories are sappy. Jeri Massi, however, is a better storyteller than that. I love these books, in spite of themselves! Yes, they do tend towards the more allegorical side of the scale, but they are good allegory, like Tales of the Kingdom (and less allegorical than that).
As Tolkien said in his Letters, “Allegory and Story converge, meeting somewhere in Truth. So that the only perfectly consistent allegory is a real life; and the only fully intelligible story is an allegory. And one finds, even in imperfect human ‘literature’, that the better and more consistent an allegory is the more easily can it be read ‘just as a story’; and the better and more closely woven a story is the more easily can those so minded find allegory in it.”
And as for telling a story to teach children better morals, fortunately Jeri Massi seems to understand that children need to be taught things a little more deep than just “obey your parents” and “share your toys.” A fantasy setting always helps with this sort of thing. It’s very conducive to modeling noble and beautiful living, to showing things how they Are.
So what is this sequel actually about? Uh... I don't know! Didn't you see that I read it two years ago?! =) Most of the above I originally wrote down about the third one, soon after reading it. It applied, and was needful for posting about this one first. Nah, I do know some things, though. Crown and Jewel is about Princess Rosewyn, daughter of Rosalynn, who was the main character in The Bridge. She's more of a tomboy than her mother, and she has her own adventures saving the kingdom of Bracken with the wise woman. Yep. There you go.
“Now she understood why her mother always spoke of her with such reverence, as of a great queen. Still, it was hard to feel comfortable or safe with her, yet. Rosewyn realized that her mother’s word was not enough to build love in her own heart. That was up to the woman herself.”
The “wise woman” archetype is often analogous to God in allegory... since this is story as well, she's mortal and everything, but her relationships with others often say things about God and His with His children.
“‘We go now into great darkness,’ the woman said. ‘But there is light at the end. Have no fear.’”