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The Secret Diary of Sarah Chamberlain

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  44 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
In the year 2008, fifteen year-old Emily Grace (Em) discovers a secret hiding place under a wooden plank in the attic of an old house in Petersburg. It conceals a 150 year-old-diary belonging to Sarah Chamberlain, the previous owner of the house. Carefully turning to the last entry, Em’s interest is piqued by the mention of missing confederate gold and a murder mystery. Sh ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 16th 2012 by Living Ink Books (first published April 15th 2012)
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Christian Fiction
65th out of 179 books — 211 voters
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Historical Fiction/Time Travel
36th out of 46 books — 72 voters

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Jul 31, 2016 Zoë rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing! I can't recomend it enough. While it may initially look like not much, this book and the story it holds is a precious treasure. I highly suggest you read it.
Judy & Marianne from Long and Short Reviews
Imagine helping your mother clean up an old house that is part of the Historical Society’s inventory and finding a loose board that holds an old, old diary. Would you tell your mother and give it up or would you keep it and read it? Emily Grace (called Em) did what I would do: She kept it to read.

Ms. Norkus mixes Civil War history, time travel, slavery, and a modern girl all together in a story that I found fascinating. The more of the diary she reads, the more Em gets caught up in Sarah’s life.
Apr 29, 2014 Sharon rated it really liked it
The book for review is “The Secret Diary of Sarah Chamberlain” by Sarah Norkus. This book falls in the genre of fiction, Christian and fantasy.

It’s 2008 and our main character is Emily Grace, or Em to her friends and family. She helps her mother clean and take care of the local historical society house. Being told what chores she is required to do one day, Em accidentally finds a hidden compartment in the upper floor of the building that holds a diary. It belongs to Sarah Chamberlain from the ti
Dec 22, 2013 Robin rated it it was ok
I can tell you first-hand that it is to be expected for Petersburg, Va to inspire one to write a civil war novel. I've done it myself -- in diary form, in fact. Mind you, I was 10 and adopted a Union soldier as my diarist. I hoped this story would be better.

This is a book for kids, so it keeps the war very simple -- too simple in spots, such as opting the diarist out of the slavery question with some thrown-away comments about how her servants are free.... Insiders will also note that our moder
Dec 02, 2013 Heather rated it really liked it
(This review can be found on my blog The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year Old Girl).

When I read the blurb, I knew this was a book I wanted to read and review. I thought it'd be a YA (young adult) book since the main character is 15, but it read more like a MG (middle grade) book. Because it reminded me more of a MG read, I will be reviewing it as such. However, this was still a great read!

The title didn't catch my attention, but I think to a middle grade student, the title would be ver
Teena in Toronto
Dec 01, 2013 Teena in Toronto rated it liked it
It's summertime in 2008 and 15-year-old Em spends her days playing basketball with her friends and helping her mother clean the Chamberlain House, a historic building owned by the Petersburg Benevolent Ladies Society. One day she is cleaning the attic and discovers the diary of Sarah Chamberlain, which was written from 1860 to 1865. During this time, the Civil War was going on and Sarah wrote about her life as a newlywed in her diary. With the war coming to an end, her husband, Robert, is arrest ...more
Pam Funke
Sep 04, 2013 Pam Funke rated it liked it
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author for the purpose of review. The review is my honest opinion and I was not paid for this service.

Author Sarah Norkus quickly pulls you into a story about a young girl, Emily Grace, as her life spirals out of control. She despises working at the historical society house with her mother and generally blames God for everything wrong in her life. It seems like the life of a typical teenager except for one thing ~ one day Emily Grace passes
Michael Norkus
Mar 05, 2013 Michael Norkus rated it it was amazing
I'm the author's husband and although I'm a history and Civil War buff, I don't read Historical Fiction/Fantasy. But, in support of my wife I decided to read her book. I really enjoyed it!! It was very intriguing and held my interest throughout the entire book. I couldn't put it down once I started reading it! Sarah does an excellent job of weaving the character of Em's plight between what's real to her and the diary entries of Sarah Chamberlain. The ending of the book has a nice twist.
Sep 03, 2013 Liz rated it really liked it
Another Colonial Heights/Petersburg resident completely sucked in to this neat little story.

I love young adult literature as a break from the tedium of being a grown up,so I was doubly happy that her writing enabled me to set aside my penchant for historic detail and completely enjoy her descriptions/comparisons of 19th and 20th century clothing, manners, and home life. This one has been added to my "Hey! You need to read this" list and I can see a few copies going out as Christmas gifts.
Mar 26, 2013 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Although the beginning didn't quite suck me in the way I would have liked, by midway I couldn't put the book down. I finished the whole thing in a day.

The Sutherland created believable characters, a fun plot, and kept a nice pace. She did a wonderful job on the time period as well as the personal relationship Em had with God through the book.

Though I'm older and did somewhat enjoy the book, I'd recommend it for lower middle school ashes girls.
Mary Deans
Aug 08, 2012 Mary Deans rated it it was amazing
This book held my interest the minute I began reading it. Both teens and adults will enjoy this great quick read, for a little me time.
Having grown up in the historical cities of Petersburg and Colonial Heights VA, where this story is set, made the book even more fascinating. Sarah moves the reader effortlessly between the year 2008 and the Civil War era. This is the third book for the author and I can't wait for the fourth.
Jun 16, 2015 Sarah rated it it was amazing
I am writing this review after reading this book a second time. Great book! Not a bad thing to write about this book. The ending was great. Can't want to read more books by this author!
Ryan Dejewski
This was a very good book and I recomed it anone
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Sarah Hackett was born October 11th 1955 in Columbus Ohio. Two weeks later, her parents moved to Lexington Kentucky where she spent her formative years growing up around horses in the Bluegrass state. In 1973, at the age of eighteen, she married her high school sweetheart, Michael Norkus. They have been married for forty one years and raised two daughters. Sarah is a grandmother six times over.
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