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Mandie #1

Mandie and the Secret Tunnel

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Mandie Shaw, almost a teenager, is certain God no longer loves her as she watches her father being lowered into his grave. Mandie's move into a neighbor family's home, when her mother remarries, does not soften her grief. Her only comfort is the promise from her father's faithful Cherokee friend, Uncle Ned, to watch out for her and be a friend. Will Mandie be able to escape her new and nearly intolerable home situation? Will she find her long-lost family? Will the mysterious key unlock the door to the secret tunnel and her own family's history?

For children 8-13, mystery adventures set in the North Carolina backwoods at the turn of the century.

141 pages, Paperback

First published April 1, 1983

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About the author

Lois Gladys Leppard

83 books243 followers

Lois Gladys Leppard was the ever-popular and prolific writer of Mandie Books. She was also a professional singer, actress, and playwright. Lois studied at the New York School of Music and the Voice Beautiful Institute in New York under Glenn Morris Starkie. Additionally, she and her two sisters, Sibyl and Louise, sang professionally as the Larke Sisters and appeared in the operetta Bohemian Girl and were presented at Carnegie Hall. As a drama student, she was in the group that organized The Little Theater in her home town. She has written several plays and was employed with Columbia Pictures.

She wrote the first Mandie book, Mandie and The Secret Tunnel, when she was eleven years old. However, the book was not published until many years later.

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5 stars
1,871 (38%)
4 stars
1,513 (31%)
3 stars
1,132 (23%)
2 stars
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1 star
67 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 286 reviews
Profile Image for Amy.
2,542 reviews380 followers
December 5, 2018
2018 Review
I decided to take a nostalgic trip down memory lane give this one a re-read. It was...eye-opening. But not bad. Don't go in expecting a mystery. Go in thinking adventure novel.
From a writing perspective, it screams plot inconsistencies. From an adventure book for grade and middle school girls? Oh, it rocks. An orphan heroine, strong friendships, secret tunnels, missing wills, ghosts, wealthy relatives, fabulous dresses, a Cherokee spy network, long-lost relatives…this book contains it all! When you focus on the adventure, plot consistency matters less. What does matter is an exciting story with crazy twists and scary turns. And this book contains those elements in abundance.
While this book lost some of its nostalgic glow (poor Uncle Ned - I expect better, even from 1983), overall I am pleased with it. It remains a romping adventure for young girls. It made me wince occasionally, but it also reintroduced me to some of my favorite characters and awoke a bunch of dormant memories. I consider this re-read a success.

Original Review
Every now and then you stumble upon something that changes your life. C.S. Lewis refers to it as joy. I'm not sure what to call it, but "Mandie and the Secret Tunnel" represents the beginning for me. I was seven or eight when I first read it, the summer before I'd started reading and haven't stopped since. I remember the day Mom took me up to the 'big kid' section to find chapter books, suggesting this one for me, taking it home. It was boring at first, but by the time I was ten or eleven, I had read every single book in the series and positively adored Mandie. Maybe I would have loved historical fiction without it, but surely my adoration for mysteries would never have become what it did. I've read Sherlock Holmes, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Three Investigators, Trixie Belden, etc. yet I will honestly say, the Mandie series, represented by this book, was a life changing step for me.
Profile Image for Mimi 'Pans' Herondale .
187 reviews72 followers
February 20, 2021
Bleh. bleh. bleh. No, no, no.

This book is DISGUSTING. I was so into this series when I was like seven....I wish I could go back in time and tell my seven year old self, "Do not read such disgusting crap, my little self," and convince little Mimi never to read these books again.

I would not recommend this book to anyone. Never. Ever.

Profile Image for When Funmi Met Romance.
128 reviews268 followers
June 13, 2011
Oh mandie. This book series was literally the light of my elementary to middle school years. It marked a time of innocence. I remember the serious anticipation i had as i waited each week for my book to arrive at the library. This is a great book for anyone young. It builds moral fiber. It is Christian, and sticks to Christian beliefs. However, even if one is not of the christian faith the morals are all for the greater good of society and the religious factor, though integral, could be over looked depending on the person. It is not a pushy religious book. It has mystery, and lessons, and even a little tiny romance. and i hesitate to use that word, especially since it is not evident until eons of books later. My mom loved when i read these books. It is the equivalent of snuggling up in your favorite pajamas, being on summer break, and bathing in the bliss of childhood ignorance. I LOVED these books, and still do. My kids will be reading them, i hope my grandchildren will be too.
Profile Image for Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls).
1,514 reviews3,360 followers
September 2, 2015
About this book:

“Mandie Shaw, almost a teenager, is certain God no longer loves her as she watches her father being lowered into his grave. Mandie's move into a neighbor family's home, when her mother remarries, does not soften her grief. Her only comfort is the promise from her father's faithful Cherokee friend, Uncle Ned, to watch out for her and be a friend. Will Mandie be able to escape her new and nearly intolerable home situation? Will she find her long-lost family? Will the mysterious key unlock the door to the secret tunnel and her own family's history?”

Series: Book #1 in “Mandie” series. {There also is the “Young Mandie Mystery” series, (Book #1 review Here and Book #2 review Here!) but they do not connect together well}

Spiritual Content- Psalm 23:1 at the beginning & quoted later; Talks about God; ‘H’s are capital when referring to God; Prayers; Mentions of Scriptures; Mandie doesn’t think God loves her because He took her father; a preacher talks about hell at a funeral; Uncle Ned referrers to Heaven as the “happy hunting ground”.
*Note: Mentions of ghosts

Negative Content- Minor cussing including: a ‘dad-blast it’, a ‘dad-gum’, a form of ‘shut up’, a ‘stupid’; Etta Shaw slaps Mandie (no details); Mandie would get switched at the Brysons (no details).

Sexual Content- Noticing a beautiful girl; Joe is sweet on Mandie & says he’ll take care of her when they’re older (and later asks her to be his wife); Mandie kisses Joe on the cheek & he blushes; Joe kisses Mandie on the cheek; Liza says that Joe will try to “put some sugar on them lips if he catches you by yourself.”, then says the Joe would like to be her boyfriend; Mandie & Joe hold hands; Irene hangs out with a boy; John kisses Elizabeth (no details);

-Amanda “Mandie” Shaw, age 10
P.O.V. of Mandie
Set in 1900
144 pages (also available in a collection with four other Mandie books.)

Pre Teens- Three Stars (and a half)
New Teens- Five Stars
Early High School Teens- Four Stars
Older High School Teens- Four Stars
My personal Rating- Four Stars
Oh, goodness! The Mandie series was one of my favorites when I was Mandie’s age! The little bit of romance between Mandie & Joe is so sweet but some parents might not want their younger daughters reading it.
*See my thought on this series versus the younger series, Here!

Link to review:

*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.
Profile Image for wanderer.
415 reviews41 followers
September 19, 2012
I admit it: I am reviewing these books years after reading them. However, do not even suggest that I'm no longer qualified, that too many years have passed to remember. My battered and faded copies of these books testify to how many times I read them growing up and plots and entire passages are seared in my memory forever.

Snowball always ran away, Mandie always got in trouble, Uncle Ned always rescued her, and Joe and Tommy bristled at each other. I myself prefered Joe, but Tommy's cosmopolitan airs nearly tipped the balance a time or two. I recall- fondly and as though it were yesterday- my glee when Mandie went off to Europe, my disgust at the new baby, my delight in Mandie's wardrobe of sky blue frocks, my puzzlement at all her near escapes and handy school vacations, my terror during the daring midnight adventures. Ah me, to be young and silly again...

If I had written goodreads reviews at the age of eleven, all Mandie books would've received automatic five-star ratings and gushing descriptions. As an adult, I will honestly give them all three stars, except for my special pets. And if I ever have a little girl, I will buy her the entire set. Oh, and did you know there are more than forty books in the series by now? And I'm guessing Mandie never grows up, either.
Profile Image for Andrea Cox.
Author 2 books1,631 followers
November 14, 2018
4 stars

A childhood favorite, this book was such a delight to revisit.

I did not remember there being a couple of swear words on page one. Boy, was I shocked! Other than that, this book is clean. I’m not sure what the point was of using those two words.

Mandie was a staple of my childhood, and I still adore her. Uncle Ned and Joe were just as amazing as I recalled, and the mystery was good. I liked that, though I’ve read this book numerous times years ago, I still felt surprised by the twists in the storyline.

Fans of Nancy Drew will love this series.
Profile Image for Kalee.
38 reviews
June 5, 2008
this was my favorite series growing up! Every young girl should read them - they taught me a lot about life, love and God, all while being thoroughly entertaining! Actually, they are good for boys too - my brother loved them! lol

I won't bother marking every book in the series but i have read most of them and highly reccommend them for young girls!
Profile Image for Susy C. *MotherLambReads*.
357 reviews42 followers
March 6, 2019
DD gave it 5 stars. Almsot 30 (!) years later I'm revisiting these w my 10 yo. Same ol Mandie and Joe and Polly. I had forgotten how young Mandie and Joe were and all those little butterflies between them. :) She loved it and promptly got book #2 down. I did keep thinking as I read it how nowadays readers would be all political correct and be offended about Uncle Ned and how he needed to be called an American Indian and not just Indian. I had forgotten the political tenseness during this time w the Cherokees in NC or maybe as a child I had no idea what that meant.
Profile Image for Michelle Hernandez.
113 reviews2 followers
January 19, 2022
I LOVED this series as a preteen, and then continued reading into my teenage years as the books came out. I anticipated each release, counting down the days until my sister could buy it for me in America and ship it over to Japan. (Amazon would eventually aid me greatly in my book-buying-overseas process). I would stay up late reading each one, and then reread them over and over again. She was a role model for me in faith, and I felt like I was going on all of her adventures with her. One of the reasons I love historical fiction so much is because of Mandie.

I haven't reread this book in well over a decade. I laugh now as an adult reading it as I recognize things that never used to bother me: the use of dialect, Uncle Ned's speech, Mandie's attitude at certain points, plots of convenience that move along so quickly, how she actually doesn't solve a mystery in this book, clunky writing and dialogue... but I still love it for nostalgia's sake, and for the fact that these books helped me survive my time living in rural Japan. (Don't you love how rereading books remind of you the time/place/emotional state/situation/memories of when you last read them?) If I had read this for the first time (and not like, the tenth), I would probably only objectively give it three stars, but I can't do that to Mandie -- at least not this first book. I would recommend these books to any elementary/preteen girl.
Profile Image for Emily Parton.
12 reviews
August 5, 2017
Re-read this in a day; this used to be my very favorite book when I was younger, but I think I like it even more now that I am reading it from an older perspective. The relationships (primarily between the kids) are so innocent and just plain good old-fashioned. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a quick read, a mystery, and just a hint of romance.
Profile Image for Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all).
1,928 reviews176 followers
December 21, 2015
Three and a half stars.
Mandie has real problems and reacts like a real kid. Yes, women often did farm their kids out if they were widowed and remarried, right into the 1940s. Yes, said farmed-out kids were treated as basically slave labour by many of the people who took them in; they were made aware every minute that they were there on sufferance and had to "pull their weight". Yes, there were (and are) many preachers who emphasise hellfire instead of Christ's forgiveness and grace. The Christian element isn't as cardboard in this book as I have often found, and the book is better written (waaay better) than most of the "Christian fiction" I have come across. That said, I wouldn't shelve it as specifically "Christian fiction" as nothing is said of the Gospel as such. Any girl who enjoys Nancy Drew etc would enjoy this. The "mystery" element isn't terribly prominent, though.That said, the "found relations" thing was a bit odd. I should think that the "relations" would have to prove who they were before being allowed to step foot in the door, let alone just moving in. Of course this was in the day before IDs and Social Security numbers, but even more so. I couldn't imagine Mr Bond just saying, "Well, okay, come on in" instead of getting out the shotgun and saying "get off the property."

A good light read. The boy-and-girl stuff was a bit odd from today's perspective, but in the countryside in those days people did "get hitched" younger than now. My own parents married very young, my mom was 15 (that was in 1939, and no, she wasn't pregnant) and dad was 20. People were expected to grow up and act like adults a lot quicker then.
Profile Image for Sara.
62 reviews
January 13, 2009
I first read this book when I was around 11 or so - Mandie's age in the story. I loved the series then, and I still find it enjoyable now. I happened to spot the books on the shelf at the library and decided to read the series again.
The book begins with the death of Mandie's father and tells of how she deals with her grief in the face of the hardships set before her. By the end of the book, she has made new friends and found a new life for herself in her uncle's house.
As a child, I loved that the series was set in North Carolina (where I lived), and that Mandie had really long hair (which I wanted). It didn't take much back then - I read so fast that it took a lot of books to keep me satisfied. I'm sure my mother was thankful for the library and my all-but-unlimited access to free books!
Now, I appreciate that this is a series of books that is enjoyable to read as well as having a Christian message.
Profile Image for Trudi.
45 reviews23 followers
March 30, 2010
This book, at the time, was the best book that a ten year old could get her hands on...or so I thought. I remember going into the library in search of a book...and stumbling across this one. I picked it up and couldn’t stop. After that I read all forty-one of Lois Gladys Leppard's Mandie Series and had two years of entertainment.
I remember how much I wanted Mandie and Joe to get together *sigh* but alas! She died before she could get to that part. Oh well, I look back on this book (and all of the books) with happy memories. I am definitely recommending this book (and all the books) to my lil sisters.
Profile Image for Lillian.
56 reviews
January 18, 2021
I enjoyed rereading this to my sister and getting to remember the last time I read this! Lots of times in the book, I would be like, "Oh, yeah! I remember what happens in this part!", as I read. These books are fun, enjoyable, and in some cases suspenseful. My sister also enjoyed them. This would be a great book to read aloud or even just to yourself no matter what age you are. Yes, if you are an adult, some of it might seem a little kiddish at times but I'm 99.9% sure that it'll still be enjoyable to read. At least if you like mysteries.
Profile Image for Tim Kruse.
36 reviews2 followers
September 26, 2007
Yeah, yeah, they're "girl books"... but it's not like I read the whole series (only the first 23 books to be exact) but what else is there to do after you've read all the Bobbsey Twins and Hardy Boys?
Profile Image for Malia Saldaña.
246 reviews12 followers
May 21, 2019
I wanted to read this book because my mom read it when she was a young girl. It was a very sweet and cute read. The ending was very surprising. I thought this would be a mystery, but it wasn’t really.
Profile Image for Belinda Vlasbaard.
3,244 reviews50 followers
August 10, 2022
4 stars - English paperback

In 1900, Mandie is searching her dead uncle's mansion for a missing will when she finds a secret tunnel and strangers who claim to be her relatives. Classic read found in a second handshop in England.

Liked this read and series.
Profile Image for Addison S.
112 reviews3 followers
May 14, 2020
I haven’t read these books in forever but I loved them as a little girl. Mandie and her friends were my heroes. Joe was my first crush🥰
80 reviews
January 24, 2023
Read this book for book club with my daughter. I read this when I was my daughter’s age, and it was one of my favorites. I kind of forgot about it. But what a sweet story.
Profile Image for Katt Hansen.
3,308 reviews94 followers
February 6, 2017
It's been years since I read the Mandie series and so it was fun to go back and start all the way at the beginning.

I'm surprised by just how much story is packed into this short book. The plot is convoluted with a whole lot of twists and turns. I found myself thinking that this could have been a much longer book if the author had decided to go into more lavish descriptions or deeper characterization. But oddly enough it works, even if Mandie feels more than a little preachy at times. I think if I'm remembering correctly, things kind of ease up as the series progresses, with each book about one solid story with a handful of minor plotlines twisting around it, which solves the pacing issue I see with this book. So consider this a fast indoctrination into the world of Mandie, hang on for a fast adventure, and by the end you'll have a solid feel for characters and story that will take you forward into all the other Mandie adventures.

It makes me sad that the author is gone now, and so there will be no more Mandie books, because I so wanted to see her as an adult. Knowing that she based these characters and stories off of her own mother's life makes me also wonder just how much of the story holds truth, and which parts are made up. I guess it doesn't matter in the end, as Mandie is still very enjoyable to read, and worth pursuing. I just like knowing things like that. :)

I can't wait to go on and read book two all over again now...
Profile Image for Caedy  Eries.
400 reviews61 followers
December 8, 2010
This book is pretty much why I fell in love with this series. It is to me a different version of Nancy Drew, but more unique to a younger group of kids. Mandie, short for Amanda, is eleven years old in turn of the century mountains of North Carolina. Her daddy has died, and she thinks that God has stopped loving her. With the help of Uncle Ned, she manages to get away from the horrid family that her mother sent her to after she got remarried. Mandie ends up living at her Uncle John's home, and then another 'tragedy' befalls Mandie, news has been received that her Uncle John has died while traveling abroad in Europe.

Chaos ensues as a trio of strangers appear at the house claiming to be distant relatives of John Shaw, however, this is not the case. Ultimately Mandie's world becomes hole again, when she finds out that John Shaw is indeed alive, and that the woman she'd called her 'mother' for the past twelve years was not actually her mother, but the beautiful Miss Elizabeth Taft is her mother and had been forced to give her up, believing that her daughter had died in birth.

Now, Mandie has a loving family. What adventures wait for her in the books to come.

Definitely a good read, and a relatively quick read.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for jess.
54 reviews38 followers
January 11, 2022
I read these when I was 10 or 11 and I am so glad that I did. These books just make me so happy and now as a teenager make me want to read them again. Whenever I think of Mandie, I get nostalgic for the wonderful life of Mandie Shaw. These books may be not written that well, they may have a bit of repetitiveness, but honestly none of that really matters when you see the true point of these stories: that girls should not have to be weak, that being curious is a good thing, that friends and family are the most important things in life, and God is always there for you, no matter what. So personally, I love these books and I think that every young girl should have the grand pleasure of meeting Mandie Shaw and her friends. I went on adventures with her and I used to always wish that I could live in her world but then I also realized how much I would miss my family and friends. But anyhow, I love these books so much. As Ernest Hemingway said, There is no friend as loyal as a book. These books are among my friends.
Profile Image for Heidi-Marie.
3,854 reviews80 followers
December 31, 2009
The first in a series that I probably would have really enjoyed around ages 8-11. As an adult, I couldn't ignore all of the amazing, convenient, and slightly annoying coincidences and the cheesiness. But there is nothing harmful in the book, except maybe the 13-year old proposing to the 11-year old. ;-) Especially as it is Christian lit.

With the living situation being settled by the end, I might be more interested in the other mysteries that Mandie sets out to solve. I did enjoy being able to guess what was going on before it was revealed, while still having one thing baffle me even though the clues were there and I thought it was just bad editing. (There were a couple of instances that the editor in me cringed because continuity and flow did not work. But many 8-11 year olds wouldn't notice.

Fast read--once I settled down to the book it only took the length of a youth dance.
Profile Image for Sofia Marie.
93 reviews6 followers
May 23, 2016
When her father dies Mandie is left with her unfeeling mother and cruel sister. Things don't get better when she is sent to a neighbor's farm two miles away to live. Mandie's two friends are Joe, an old schoolmate and great comfort, and Uncle Ned - her father's faithful Cherokee friend. Will she be able to run to safety with Uncle Ned? Will she finally get to know the truth about her family? Where does the secret tunnel lead to? Does God still love her?

This book teaches important life lessons. Why does God take our loved ones? Is it because we did something wrong? Will God love us after this? Can we trust God fully? The whole focus isn't so much on God, but He is certainly very important. Mandie and the Secret Tunnel will entertain you as well as show that God really cares. This is the first book of the series Mandie books.

Extremely interesting!!!
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
794 reviews14 followers
October 17, 2016
Oh Mandie!
I read these as a child and now Lydia at 9 has devoured them one after another. We have 18.
I love the mystery. I love the way faith and struggling with faith are presented for the tween crowd in a way that is able to be related to, not preachy and true. I like the friendships and history of place and people.
I also see that books like these are a huge reason that it is so important to show young people a diversity of voices in literature and I am so thankful that now there are so many great books with minorities as main characters because in Mandie all the Native Americans are noble, all knowing and stoic; the black people are ever cheerful servants, meaning they are all flat characters while Mandie and friends have depth. I am not offended (probably in my white privilege) but I am aware and will be picking up books to balance this.
Profile Image for Dexter.
1,051 reviews17 followers
June 18, 2022
I can't really rate these books, because I grew up reading them so they hold a certain fondness. They are fairly good mysteries for young reader's, but since I'm hardly a young reader anymore, there were plenty of things that annoyed me (nothing that the average ten-year-old would notice of course).

For one thing, it seems like the only reason Mandie and Elizabeth like Uncle John is that he looks just like Jim. It makes me feel very, very sorry for Uncle John.
Profile Image for Danielle.
172 reviews
February 22, 2011
This was one of my all-time favorite series as a young girl! I fell in love with reading when I began the Mandie series- words can not express the amount of joy and adventure that Lois Gladys Leppard brought to my life through these books!
Profile Image for Meghan.
56 reviews1 follower
June 24, 2007
I read this book when i was young...and i loved it.
Profile Image for Taliah.
29 reviews
November 8, 2008
This book may have a sad beginning, but the wait is worth it. All the fun adventures, excapes and hikes are so exciting and will keep you at the edge of you seat!!
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