Cover image for While mortals sleep
While mortals sleep
Cavanaugh, Jack.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Minneapolis, Minn. : Bethany House Publishers, [2001]

Physical Description:
378 pages ; 22 cm.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.9 15.0 54396.
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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A German pastor, Joseph Schumacher joins the resistance movement against Hitler, hoping to save his young parishioners from the evils of Nazism.

Author Notes

Being a student of history, Jack Cavanaugh has always been fascinated by the forces that have attempted to destroy Christianity throughout the ages. The stories of those who have endured such severe persecution has inspired him in his Christian walk.

Not only does he enjoy reading the stories of martyrs and reformers, but he loves telling their stories. It is his goal as a Christian novelist to transport his readers back in time so that they can see what it was like to live as a believer in a different time and place. It was this overall goal that led him to Germany in the 1930s. The result is a journey back in time to the 1930s to the home of a young pastor, his wife, and a youth group that is being trained in the ways of the Third Reich through a growing youth movement; the series, SONGS IN THE NIGHT.

While Mortals Sleep (Book 1) and His Watchful Eye (Book 2) have both received Christy Awards.

A popular inspirational speaker, he holds a degree in history from Grand Canyon University and an M.Div. from Southwestern Seminary. Jack and his wife make their home in Southern California.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Ginny Aiken, Kristin Billerbeck, and Catherine Palmer's Victorian Christmas Keepsake is the fourth in Tyndale's annual series of Victorian romance novellas, each with a Christmas theme. Aiken's "Memory to Keep" features a sea captain and a governess getting together during a cold Scottish December in 1887; Billerbeck's "Far above Rubies" is the tale of Emma Palmer, the spinster sister of the prettier Katherine who is sent to marry a California miner in her stead; while Palmer, the best known of these writers, offers "Behold the Lamb," about a thief who buys his way into good London society but must do some rethinking when he meets gentle Rosalind Treadwell, who was born with a title but has no money. While Mortals Sleep begins a new series, Songs of the Night, from the reliable Cavanaugh. It's about Reverend Josef Schumacher, who saw his father dragged away by the Nazi brownshirts, and who, in 1939, has begun to rebel by training his own small youth corps to follow God rather than Hitler. He issues each of his charges a special coin with a personalized Bible verse. Soon all are drawn into full-scale resistance, with Josef's timid wife, Mady, at last coming on board at great risk to herself. Portraying Nazis as evil hardly breaks new ground, and Cavanaugh's effort lacks the heart-wrenching quality of James Yoder's Black Spider over Tiegenhoff (1995). Even so, Cavanaugh is a smooth stylist, and his series is bound to circulate. Foster's Riding through Shadows is the story of a troubled African American child, Shirley Ferris, coming of age in East St. Louis and Alabama in the 1960s; and also of her adult self, a single mother coping with providing for her children in the mid-1980s. Young Shirley is most of the story. An exceptionally bright girl, she is plagued with a long-suffering, manic-depressive mother who teeters on insanity. Young Shirley herself is deeply depressed, imagining a playmate she calls the "little bad girl" as well as various demons who strive to kill her natural joyousness, until finally she withdraws into a disturbed silence. She's rescued by an earth mother, called "Mother." Mother's humor, down-to-earth spirituality, and boundless love begin Shirley's long road to healing. Irritatingly, Multnomah has published this powerful though sometimes maddeningly personal novel in two parts; the second installment will be called Passing into Light. In Snowbirds, Jones tells the story of the Dorsey sisters, who, like snowbirds, return every year to their family home in the little town of Persuasion, Alabama, to celebrate Christmas. One of the Dorseys, Nicolette ("Nic"), has had a tough life, and her special-needs daughter, Willa, makes it tougher. What Nic hadn't counted on was the return to town of Sam Moss, her old sweetheart--in fact, the father of Willa. At least by evangelical standards, Sam was a wild one, but now he's Persuasion's new pastor, and he's keenly interested in meeting Nic. Kingsbury offers up another of her morality tales with On Every Side, about Jordan Riley, a lawyer who tries to get a statue of Jesus removed from a park in his old hometown but runs into a lost love, Faith Moses, who opposes him. Faith is a TV news anchor, good at her job, whose bosses criticize her for working in too many religious stories. Kingsbury bases her romance on a true story, but in her hands, it's little more than propaganda, since Jordan's point of view is given no real credence. He came to it because of childhood trauma, and, of course, Faith shows him the error of his ways. McCusker's Faded Flower is told from the point of view of Frank Reynolds, a nine-to-fiver who suddenly loses his job and has to take a lower-paying one in his podunk hometown. There, he discovers that his widowed father can no longer care for himself and must be moved, kicking and screaming, into a rest home. Even through the mists of a faulty memory, however, Frank's father has some wisdom to impart, particularly with regard to Frank's seemingly wayward son. McCusker avoids the entimental quicksand of Alzheimer's as a subject with humor and humility in this lyrical and touching tale, based, McCusker implies, on his own father. Musser's Infidel is a biographical novel drawn from the memoirs of John Newton, the British seaman who became a Christian theologian and wrote the words to "Amazing Grace." It was also largely because of Newton that England banned slavery. Born of a stern sea captain, Newton was a brilliant boy who went to sea at age 11 and thus was largely self-educated. A complete scoundrel, he raped countless slave women as an officer serving on slavers; and in a peculiar turn of events, he became a slave himself, ruled by a cruel black mistress. Yet his sins and travails brought him to the ministry in the end, and his book, Thoughts on the African Slave Trade (1787), became the first great weapon of England's abolitionists. Musser portrays Newton's sins graphically in what amounts to a picaresque novel reminiscent of Fielding and Smollett, but when Newton's salvation arrives, it seems inevitable. Myers, author of the alternative-universe story Eli [BKL Je 1 & 15 00], portrays a crisis in a pastor's life with When the Last Leaf Falls. Like Frank Reynolds in McCusker's Faded Flower (above), Reverend Paul Newcombe has some lessons in humility to learn. Paul argues with his father, who once pastored Paul's church, about the nature of the divine when his daughter, Ally, seems doomed by bone cancer. The last leaf has to do with Ally's notion of when she might die, but for the most part, Myers minimizes easy sentiment and stays with the lesson that, to truly serve God, one's spirit must be "broken" and one's faith the strongest when it seems the least warranted.

Library Journal Review

In 1939, Pastor Josef Schumacher's native Germany has become a nightmare of Nazi activism spreading its poisonous grip throughout his congregation and infecting the bright teenagers he has watched grow up. When one of his teens turns in his own father for listening to BBC broadcasts, an action that results in the man's execution, Josef can no longer remain uninvolved. Even though his pregnant wife begs him not to call attention to himself, Josef is drawn deeper into the resistance, risking his life daily. Cavanaugh ("An American Family Portrait" series) examines the lives of ordinary Germans who did not stand by while their countrymen began the wholesale slaughter of Jews. His portrayal of the impact of one man's work on the lives of others fits well on the shelf with Laurel Schunk's A Clear North Light (LJ 4/1/01). Highly recommended. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.