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Reviewed by Emma Megan for Readers' Favorite
The Beamy Courage of Gerta Scholler by Gillespie Lamb tells the story of an eight-year-old orphan girl with two similar given names. Gerda Gerta Scholler became an orphan when she was four, and since then she has been living at Sisters of Mercy Orphanage, enjoying the company of her favorite nun, Sister Angelica. One day, she learns the meaning of “Gerda” and “Gerta,” and that they are assurances of long life. Even though Gerta's life in the orphanage was comfortable, in April of 1866, Sister Angelica informs her that a good Catholic family is eager to meet her, in Kansas. Gerta is about to ride the train for the first time, make friends, and be a part of a new family. But for how long?
The Beamy Courage of Gerta Scholler by Gillespie Lamb is a remarkable historical novel for middle-grade readers. It's about courage, learning to be true to yourself no matter what, and what it means to be a survivor. I can't even express how much I love this book and how much I admire Gerta. I didn't want her story to end. It's so painfully beautiful, tragic, and unforgettable. This is one of the few profound novels of hope and faith, challenges, and resilience that stole my heart and I hope that Lamb will write more of Gerta. This captivating piece of historical fiction is a must, not just for historical fiction fans, but also for everyone fond of stories about orphaned children.