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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on July 16, 2015
The are hard to find and was glad to see that I could finish adding to my series.......
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon December 12, 2006
This is a beautiful work of Christian literature. The story opens in June of 1894 when 3-year-old Berta becomes an older sister to Glenna. From the start, Berta feels displaced and rebuffs all efforts on the part of her immediate family to draw her in. Glenna, a ray of sunshine with light hair to match is adept at peace making, peace keeping and generally trying to assuage her older sister's resentments.

Poor Berta can never let her grudges go long enough to enjoy life. When Glenna marries and moves to another town, Berta closes herself off from everyone. When their father dies, Berta withers in resentment.

Things change for the better when Glenna returns for a visit with her then 2-year-old son James in tow. The family reconnects, the sisters, mother and their maternal grandmother. Berta Rose (Rosie) was born, some 4 years after James. Unlike Berta, he embraces his new role as a brother and delights in Rosie.

In time, tragedy strikes. James, then 4 falls from a tree and dies from a closed head injury. Glenna's third child, Anna is born shortly thereafter. In time, Glenna and Berta have a heart-to-heart. Glenna says she prays to God daily to help her feel compassion instead of envy; she is not the naturally sunny personality people think she is. Slowly, Berta's emotional armor is chipped away. Once she accepts herself and lets go of her past resentments and allows herself to love Glenna unconditionally, then she is receptive to the love of a persistent suitor.

I think this is a wonderful story about love and redemption and prayer. I like the way God is mentioned throughout the book and the reminders of how important God is to those who believe in and serve Him. As a Christian, I think this book beautifully illustrates compassion from a Christian standpoint.

Berta reminds me of a Beatle song - 1968's "Blackbird." Once she took her broken wings and learned to fly, she saw that flying with the bluebirds (Paul McCartney wrote "Bluebird" years after his Beatle classic, "Blackbird") made for a happier life.
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on June 14, 2003
I was so excited when I checked this book out at my local library because I normally love Mrs. Oke's books. But this one just got on my nerves something terrible. The characters, especially the older sister, just really irritated me. By the time I got to the end and she had finally gotten her attitude adjusted I was so sick of her and the book that I didn't care.
The storyline in this book was weak and diluted, and it just wasn't any good. The characters were also unbelievable because I have two sisters and believe me if either one of them ever was a sour apple like the older sister in this book I would definitely have to set them straight. And the younger sister was just too sweet and too tolerant.
Like I said, I normally enjoy Mrs. Oke's books, so don't think I'm coming down too hard on her. On the other hand, if you like Mrs. Oke then I know you will also enjoy Leigh Ann Roberts. I just read her newest book, "For All Time" and it was great!
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on February 19, 2003
Heroine:  plain/average
Berta Berdette has never been able to get over her resentment of her beautiful younger sister with the "charmed" life and handsome husband. All-or-nothing negative Berta is so angry that she wasn't born beautiful too, that she refuses to even try to be "just pretty", shunning lovely hairstyles and clothing and dressing in the primmest, plainest manner possible.
But God shows Berta that her attempts to spite the people around her hurt no one more than herself, and ultimately helps her to open her heart to love: His, hers, and that of a good man.

What worked for me:
The story starts early in Berta's life, and the deft description of a young child adjusting to a new baby was excellent and right on target.
I always enjoy stories which invoke warm memories of some of my favorite childhood reads like the "Little House" and "Anne of Green Gables" series.
Size-wise there are no descriptions given to Berta or her sister. We only know that one is "plain" and the other is "lovely".
What didn't work for me:
     I understand what the moral of the story is, but it seems like this book just hammered it home a few times too many. Berta's bitterness and self-pity became harder and harder to take as the years rolled by.
Fans of Western Historical Christian novels should enjoy this one.
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on October 8, 2001
I think that The Bluebird and The Sparrow is wonderfully true about certain families. I tells the reader that Berta cannot stand to be around Glenna. And Glenna loves to be around Berta. I recommend this book to any teenager who likes funny but yet traumatizing stories.
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on October 3, 2000
Berta is 2 years old, and life so far seems great. She has great parents, and is learning new things every day. Then, one day, her mother has a baby, Glenna.
Glenna grows up beautiful, bubbly, and friendly. Berta, determined not to be influenced by her sister or the fashions of the day, decides that she will not grow up like Glenna. She grows up to be prim and sensible, and always believes that her looks are inferior to Glenna's.
During this book, I just wanted to shout at Berta to lighten up a little bit, but I can also relate to some of her feelings. In the end, though, She and her sister are both happy.
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on July 28, 2000
This book seemed to dwell on the issue being presented more than most of her other books, but I have to admit that maybe it took that for the reader to realize how stubborn we ourselves can be! Even if you're unaware of it, there is usually a spot in your life that you Will Not change, even though you know you are being silly, childish or annoying. And for the people who'd identify more with Glenna, well maybe this will give you an insight to someone in your life.
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on April 9, 2000
Yes, Berta is bitter and biting at times; but "whiney"? I consider this one of the top three Janette Oke books I've read, and yes, I have read quite a few. Berta's pessimism and resistance against affection certainly do keep the reader from admiring her as a character, but (once she matures into an adult) she doesn't "whine." She has allowed bitterness and a misinterpretation of the past to enslave her, and her story is really a rather tragic one. Yet this less-than-appealing character serves as a very vivid lesson against holding grudges and focus on self; and she does finally see her flaws at the end of the story. This story is also good for struggling sisters (don't let your differences create such a gulf that you can't even have an honest conversation anymore), and even for new moms (try to get behind each child's eyes). All in all, a well-written story that teaches some lessons on how *not* to be but, in traditional Oke fashion, doesn't leave the reader without hope for reconciliation.
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on October 23, 1999
I read this book, as I've read all of J. Oke's books, expecting a really good read. The book was written in much the same way all the others are; easy-to-read, "brain candy" with a Christian message. I like to read her books because I don't have to be worried about exposing my mind to questionable (immoral) content. In this regard, she was right on target. However.....
I did NOT like the characters in this particular book. Two sisters are compared throughout the entire book, one very sweet and popular, the other not as pretty, and very bitter about the fact that baby sis gets all the attention. I found myself wanting to slap the whiney sister. No wonder no one wanted to be her beau. I think that it had way more to do with ugliness of personality (whiney, grating, irritating.... I really did NOT like this woman) than of physical appearance. I got really really tired of listening to her little pity parties. (WOW! I sound so harsh!) Finally, too near the end of the book, she finds happiness. By then, I didn't care. I was too sick of her.
Frankly, I could not WAIT to get through this one, and although I will continue to read Oke's other books over and over again, this is one to which I will never again subject myself.
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on March 10, 1998
I felt so into it at the begining and at the end I felt wonderful, spiritlifted! I can never describe how wonderful this book was and how wonderful it will make anyone feel! A book everyone should read!
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