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Kathleen's Abiding Hope

This third historical fiction book in the "Life of Faith: Kathleen McKenzie" series by Tracy Leininger Craven is published by Zonderkidz.

Kathleen's Abiding Hope is written for kids ages 8 to 12. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.

Plot Summary

Kathleen McKenzie waits anxiously for news of her friend Lucy as she and Papa drive from Stonehaven, the family farm, to Fort Wayne. Papa is going back to the city to apply for a job, and 12-year-old Kathleen hopes to visit her sick friend whom she has not seen in months. After a delay caused by the theft and return of their car, they arrive in Fort Wayne where Kathleen visits Lucy. Papa does not get the job he is seeking, so the family remains on the farm, continuing to trust in God's provision. As Easter morning dawns, Kathleen and her cousin, Lindsey, inadvertently witness a mysterious and frightening ceremony in the woods that will threaten Kathleen’s new neighbors.

Christian Beliefs

The McKenzie family is composed of strong believers who pray, read the Bible regularly and discuss their faith with each other. Kathleen relies on God to guide her in difficult situations.

Authority Roles

Kathleen’s father, Uncle John and Grandpa McKenzie are strong, gentle, godly men who lead their families using Christian principles and love. Their wives and children respect the men as leaders of the household.

Other Belief Systems


Profanity/Graphic Violence



Kathleen’s cousin, Lindsey, clearly likes a young man in town, and Kathleen teases her about looking pretty for him. Lindsey states that she will not be interested in boys until she is 16 years old, which is courting age.



Discussion Topics

If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:

  • What situation did Kathleen’s mother face that was beyond her control?
  • What situation did Kathleen’s father face that was beyond his control?
  • What situation did Kathleen face that was beyond her control?
  • How did each person react differently?
    How did they help each other through those situations?
  • Who did Kathleen think had a steadfast mind?
  • Which two people did Kathleen want to be like?
  • When did Kathleen trust God?
    When did Kathleen not trust God?
    What did she trust when she wasn’t trusting God?
    What happened when she didn’t trust God?

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

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