Cover image for The remember box
The remember box
Sprinkle, Patricia Houck.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Grand Rapids, Mich. : ZondervanPublishingHouse, [2000]

Physical Description:
412 pages : map ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



A Presbyterian pastor, his wife, and family move to rural North Carolina to pastor a church - and are met not just by a hostile congregation but by murder and abduction.

Author Notes

Patricia Sprinkle was born in West Virginia, but grew up in North Carolina and Florida. After graduating from Vasser College where she studied creative writing, Sprinkle spent a year writing in the Scottish Highlands.

Sprinkle has written non-fiction articles for religious magazines such as Guideposts and has also written educational materials on hunger. Sprinkle enjoys reading mysteries, and since 1988, Sprinkle has written twenty mystery novels.

Sprinkle and her husband live in Georgia. They have two grown children.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

YA mystery writer Baer turns to adult fiction with Jenny's Story, first in a series about three women who were childhood friends and featuring Jenny Owens, an average middle-class wife whose world is shattered when her husband of 12 years is accidentally killed. Tia Warden and Libby Morrison (the childhood friends) try to help, but then the other shoe drops: readers learn that Jenny's husband was a secret sinner, addicted to casino gambling and women. Fortunately, there's a new man on the scene, Michael, whom Jenny knew as a teenager but didn't trust. Michael draws lessons for life from gardening, and his wry, bashful courtship gradually wins Jenny over. On behalf of ChiLibris, an evangelical writers' group, Carlson gathered some 40 unformulaic stories with exotic locations for The Storytellers' Collection. The stories are uniformly excellent. Sigmund Brouwer offers a grim historical tale of Christian martyrdom, "At the Village Gate," but most of the stories have contemporary settings, such as Athol Dickson's moving tale, "Hannah's Home," about an unhappy adopted girl who returns to rural Mexico in search of her birth mother, and Sharon Ewell Foster's "A Trip to Senegal," about an African American woman's trip to Senegal and discovery of faith while getting her hair done. Other writers include Randy Alcorn, Angela Elwell Hunt, Jerry Jenkins, Terri Blackstock, Lauraine Snelling, Dave Jackson, and Gayle Roper. Cutrer's and Glahn's Lethal Harvest is a fine medical thriller centering on the apparent disappearance of one member, Tim Sullivan, of a partnership running a fertility clinic in Washington, D.C. Sullivan is related to the current U.S. president and, like him, carries a recessive gene for akenosis, a neurological disease that results in quick deterioration of motor function. When the disease begins to affect the president, Sullivan's death is faked by government operatives, and he begins accelerated research into akenosis using DNA implantation techniques. Meanwhile, one of Sullivan's partners confuses clones of discarded eggs (which, unknown to him, Sullivan was using for research) with the correct eggs for implantation, and twins that are clones of their mother result. A lawsuit arises, and the clinic is bombed, the mysteries of which fall to the third partner, Ben McCay, an obstetrician and chaplain, to unravel. Some of the thriller aspects of Lethal Harvest are shaky, but the authors' treatment of DNA research is so well informed and compelling that their novel should have wide appeal. Gulley's funny Front Porch Tales (1997) was much admired, selling a quarter of a million copies. Sometimes, the ironies of Home to Harmony rise to guffaws, but more often gentle and nostalgic would be better words to describe the anecdotal sermons of Gulley's alter ego, Quaker minister Sam Gardner of Harmony, Indiana. Typical is "The Aluminum Years," in which self-effacing Sam mulls over what aluminum item to give his wife for their tenth anniversary; he settles on diet soda--attached to a diamond ring. As funny but more cautionary is his tale of the World's Shortest Evangelist, a former pro wrestler who comes dressed in fatigues to preach of spiritual warfare. Gulley is one of a kind. Sprinkle's Remember Box is modeled on To Kill a Mockingbird, with 11-year-old Carley Marshall standing in for Scout and Carley's Uncle Stephen, a progressive Presbyterian minister in the podunk South Carolina town of Job's Corner, standing in for Atticus Finch. Like Atticus, Uncle Stephen rises to the defense of an innocent black man, and like Scout, Carley matures as she witnesses these dark events. Sprinkle, known for her mysteries with rich southern settings, competently evokes the 1950s hysteria over Communism and racism, and her characterizations, particularly of the sullen black servant, Raifa, are filled with wisdom. But it's hard to escape the feeling you've been here before. The tales of Lady Firebird conclude with Tyers' Crown of Fire, sequel to Firebird (1999) and Fusion Fire (2000). Firebird, from the decadent planet Netaia, was born a wastling, doomed to a glorious death in combat against the Ehretan Federate. But she's captured and falls in love with General Brennen, a telepath and leader of the Sentinels--the good guys. Firebird joins the Sentinel cause to subdue a renegade band of powerful telepaths called the Shuhr, whose defeat is also desired by the "Eternal Speaker," or God. Tyers is a busy writer with a confusing array of characters and settings, and she leans heavily on Star Wars. Firebird's rejection of Netaia's rigid religion and the idea of a culture based on ruthless eugenics prove intriguing, as do certain minor characterizations, such as that of Terza, a young eugenics technician who, in support of the war effort, is forced to bear a child the old-fashioned way. Not unlike Walter Wangerin's recent efforts to deliver the Bible in fictional form, Woolley's Pillar of Fire is a novelization of portions of the Book of Mormon, the first of a projected seven volumes. Set in 601 B.C., the novel centers on a brusque, unsavory character from 1 Nephi, Laban, who has come into possession of Hebrew ancient texts (brass plates) and a mystical sword symbolizing Jewish lineage. After the war with Babylon, Laban has risen to Captain of the Guard and has ambitions to become king of Israel; opposing him are Lehi and Uriah, leaders of a sect who prophesy the coming of a messiah. Woolley interweaves biblical, Mormon, and fictional characters in this sprawling though effective tale, of great appeal to Mormon readers but likely to seem obscure to non-Mormons. Wright's Velma Still Cooks in Leeway features stories and recipes from Velma Brendle of Leeway, Kansas, an aging widow who runs the town's only cafe. There's the shy girl date-raped by a popular boy; no one believes the girl except Velma, but, like the pastor and the boy's parents, Velma knows the disaster that will result if the girl's story is allowed to be true. There are the stories of the man who suddenly, inexplicably, leaves his wife and family; the trustworthy mechanic who gossips too much; and the loquacious busybody who falls down a flight of stairs and is reduced to incoherency. Characters crisscross, resulting in a novel composed of small sorrows, celebrating faith as a matter of course, quietly triumphant. Wright is a rarity on the Christian scene, a realist, and her Velma is in every way a worthy successor to her fine debut novel, Grace at Bender Springs [BKL O 1 99].

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this Christian novel, Sprinkle (author of the Sheila Travis mysteries and When Did We Lose Harriet?) deftly addresses racial tensions in the segregated South in 1949. Carley Marshall, an 11-year-old white girl, is forced to move in with her aunt and uncle in their sleepy village of Job's Corner, N.C., after her mother dies. Having been raised under the influence of her racially conservative grandmother, Carley is startled by the attitude of her preacher-uncle, a firm advocate of biblical equality. The town has similar concerns about him. For the people of Job's Corner, eating meals prepared by blacks is de rigueur, while sitting down to table with them is another matter entirely. In Uncle Steven, Sprinkle has crafted a strong yet sympathetic character whose ideas on race and social justice are ahead of their time. In his wife, Kate, torn between her love for her husband and her fear of what people will think of them, Sprinkle allows readers to see the toll such visionary leadership can have on a family. Written as a flashback, the novel is aptly named as the grown-up Carley struggles to write the true story of what happened in Job's Corner in 1949 from a box of tangible memories. Readers will enjoy Sprinkle's memorable cast of characters and unexpected plot twists, and be challenged by her message of racial equality. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

After her Aunt Kate dies, Carley Marshall's uncle, Stephen Whitfield, gives her Kate's "remember box" and asks her to write its story, the story of the year the family lived in the segregated Job's Corner, NC. Before the Civil Rights movement became a national concern, Stephen, the pastor of Bethel Church, lived by his beliefs that all men are loved equally by God regardless of color. This unpopular opinion and his outspoken criticism of anti-Communist rhetoric split his congregation further. As 11-year-old Carley, a ward in her uncle's household, learned to think for herself, a violent murder and the sexual assault of a retarded girl tore the community apart and threatened the strength, solidity, and beliefs of the Whitfield family. Acclaimed mystery maven Sprinkle (When did we lose Harriet?) lends her unique voice to the Christian market with this part whodunit, part black comedy, and part coming of age novel. For all collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-A novel that captures readers in short order. Now adults, Abby gives her cousin Carley a "remember box" that had belonged to Abby's mother. As Carley lifts the objects from the box, readers are given hints as to the importance of each piece but must read on to learn the whole story that unfolded so many years before as recorded by Carley. In 1949, when her mother died, 11-year-old Carley was sent to live with her Aunt Kate, Uncle Steven, four-year-old Abby, and infant John in Job's Corner, NC, where Steven was the new Presbyterian minister. Feisty, brave, and aware, young Carley faces the racial bigotry in herself and others that is the social norm of the time, bred into children by blacks and whites alike. The treachery of some adults is brought home when her uncle stands trial after being falsely accused of molestation, again when a black family friend is nearly convicted of murder, and in the dangerous encounter she has with the father she had thought was dead. She also witnesses the uncommon heroics and self-sacrifice that can be found in the most unexpected places. The story lures readers along as the pieces fall into place. The characters are steeped in reality, drawn convincingly and full of the surprises inherent in ordinary people. The story should provoke some interesting discussion about situations that are as real today as they were then.-Carol DeAngelo, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.