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The Second Cellar

By Sharon Kirk Clifton


How could Leah’s dad dump his only daughter with an aunt she doesn’t even know—who lives in rural Indiana, of all places? Ugh!

Aunt Becky has spent her life running all over Africa and Asia on some kind of a secretive mission. But what?

Things look up when Leah discovers a hidden ladder leading from a window seat in auntie’s old house to a second cellar. At the bottom it’s 1860. The people living in the house, the Newcombs, operate a station on the Underground Railroad. AWESOME!

She thinks.

Leah finds a friend in Johannah Newcomb, but then stumbles on a story that will shatter Johannah’s world. Should Leah tell her friend and perhaps save the girl’s father from being killed by a gang of slave hunters? Would that alter history? Could history be altered? Should it be?

And what about God? Can He help? He sure didn’t do anything to save Leah’s mom when a drunken teenage driver killed her in a car crash.

After a neighbor boy, Trevor, reveals that he knows about the ladder and the Newcombs, he and Leah make a pact of secrecy and join in the risky business of helping runaway slaves.

Speaking of secrets, what is Aunt Becky hiding that could change Leah’s life forever? How does auntie’s mission connect with the Newcombs’ good work a century and a half ago?

Book Takeaway:

God is sovereign and loving. Even through the painful times of our lives, He is with us. Even when we turn our backs on Him, His love pursues us.

Why the author wrote this book:

Like my first middle-grade novel, THE SECOND CELLAR sprang from one of my historical interpretive storytelling programs--this one about the Underground Railroad. I asked the "what if" question: what if a girl from today could go back in history to the time when the Underground Railroad was active? Then came another "what if." What if I could tie that into the human trafficking of today? Since I'm writing for middle-grade students, I didn't want to bring in certain types of human trafficking, however. My research revealed that many UGRR-type agencies exist--both Christian and secular--and Unshackled International Mission was born.


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