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Twice Freed

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  1,210 ratings  ·  93 reviews
Onesimus is a slave. Eirene is a rich merchant's daughter. Onesimus longs to gain his freedom and Eirene's love. However, he doesn't realize where true freedom lies. He wants nothing to do with Jesus Christ. His master, Philemon, may follow the teachings of the Christ and his apostle Paul... but Onesimus has other plans. ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 1st 2002 by CF4kids (first published 1970)
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  1,210 ratings  ·  93 reviews

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Apr 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If you're a fan of Rosemary Sutcliff, read this book.

Now, I'm recommending this book to literally everyone. No matter your age, or taste in books...if you can read, READ THIS BOOK. But if you're a Sutcliff fan, you'll probably enjoy it most because there are clear similarities between Sutcliff and St. John's writing style and subject matter (at least in this book).

This book has such a special place in my heart. I read it tons of times as a little kid and even though I couldn't fully appreciate i
Oct 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was such an amazing book! I highly recommend it! While it is a historical fictions children's novel, it has so much worth to readers of all ages. St. John gives a fictional account of Onesimus, Philemon's slave spoken of by Paul in his letter to Philemon. The author does an amazingly accurate job of presenting the places and events of this time period as they are accounted for in other passages of Scripture and historical background books. After reading this, I had a better understanding of ...more
Jessica Joy
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Twice Freed is the story of a young slave boy living during Ancient Rome. Struggling with his hate and fear, he runs away to find a new life. Along the way circumstances fall into place which show him what, or who, he really needs to be free: Christ.

This book is wonderful. Based around the book of Philimon, Patricia St. John forms a story which makes you cry and laugh, while you, along with the whole host of characters, struggle to find the true answer of love despite life's suffering. Even if
Sep 21, 2020 rated it liked it
This just wasn't as good as the other things I've read by this author. It was disjointed and just not for me. ...more
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Twice Freed is a fictionalized account of Onesimus, Philemon's slave who ends up meeting Paul and becoming a Christian. The kids and I read it together and enjoyed it very much. St. John did good research to write this book (both biblical and historical) and has done a nice job filling out the life of Onesimus. At times the book feels a little bit preachy, and yet at the same time, Onesimus' conversion to Christianity (as well as the conversion of Philemon and Archippus) are key to the story, so ...more
Eliza Noel
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was amazing! I loved it. The only reason I didn't rate it 5 stars is because I usually reserve 5 stars for my favoritests (An Old Fashioned Girl, The Anne of Green gables series, etc.)
I would definitely recommend this to Christian tweens and teens. It is a little dramatic and a little violent in some parts.
Lila Diller
I'm surprised that this is used as a “text” for the ACE curriculum. Yes, the Biblical setting and characters were built well.

But the plot could have been streamlined so much more. There were several chapters that were so slow, especially at the beginning.

Also, there were a few times when we got a few thoughts and feelings from other characters, even though the rest of the chapter – and the entire book – were all in a third-person limited perspective from Onesimus.

I did like how Eirene's name me
Joyfully Jules
Dec 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing book!

I will never read the book of Philemon without thinking of this book!!

I loved how it showed that someone who is dirty with sin, even murder and resisting Jesus, can be accepted into His open arms and have all sins washed away!

I also loved the love story between Onesimus and Eirene. It was subtle, nothing crazy, but very sweet and innocent.

I had to read this book for school, but I forgot I was doing English the whole time. I really enjoyed this.
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Twice Freed is one of my very favorite books. I would recommend it for anyone 10 and up who loves historical fiction with a Christian focus (in this case, biblical fiction as well).
Honestly, it's hard for me to express the many reasons that I love this book without waxing a wee bit poetic. Still, I'll try to lay it all out in a clear and concise fashion. (my short summary at the bottom has very mild spoilers, so I tagged it)
The first thing that struck me about this book was the clearness and bea
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I received this book years ago as a gift for my tenth birthday. I was always fascinated about ancient Rome for some reason and the cover of Twice Freed caught my eye.
It didn't disappoint either. I read almost the entire book in one setting. It was thrilling and I was transported into the world of the first century AD.

But I was ten then, and I guess I hardly paid much attention to style and plot, as I had just begun to read "novels". I picked it up a few months ago and realized how descriptive t
Paige Cuthbertson| Turning_Every_Paige
I really loved everything about this book! The descriptions of places and landscapes were vivid but not pointless and drawn out; there was romance, but it wasn't the main storyline, and it was pure; the author was honest yet discreet about the descriptions of pagan worship; the characters were well developed; the storyline kept me wanting more; her version of events was not unbiblical, so her creative license dos not get out of hand... it was wonderful! Highly recommend for both children and adu ...more
Nov 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I haven't read this in years, but when I was younger I read it several times. I loved most of Patricia St John's books, but particularly this one. It gave so much to this story of Onesimus and I loved how she created a whole story out of a few lines in a small book of the Bible. Whenever I looked at Philemon (that's the book I seem to recall it being from) with my family or in church after reading this, I was always very interested and felt this secret joy about my expanded insight into a possib ...more
Jun 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended for ages 12 and up. Onesimus is a Greek slave boy who is adamant about getting his freedom. But he begins to hear of Jesus Christ and the way he sacrificed his life. He tries to push thoughts of Him away, but yet he keeps hearing more about him. When his master's son is crippled for life partly by Onesium, he is more then ever wanting to flee. His master, Philemon, becomes a disciple of Christ and soon his son follows in his footstep. The question for Onesimus is whether he is willin ...more
Jan 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
I liked the simplicity yet fun of this book. An awesome look at the heart of Onesimus. Based on the Biblical character.
Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is an inspiring vision of what Onesimus' life may have looked like. It is a short, easy read and filled with spiritual challenges. ...more
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-aloud
A review by an 11 and 8-year-old

"Twice Freed" is a book about slavery and Jesus Christ. It takes place in Colosse in the time of the Roman Empire shortly after Jesus' time on earth. Onesimus is the main character and Philemon is his master. Archippus, Philemon's son, and Onesimus were good friends when they were young. Now Onesimus doesn't really like Archippus anymore because Archippus is his master, and he treats him badly. As the story goes along, Onesimeus battles fear and wicked deeds in hi
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book captivated my attention almost right away. Set in Ancient Rome, this fictionalized story focuses on the slave Onesimus, mentioned by the apostle Paul in his letter to Philemon. As a slave Onesimus does not have the freedom or lifestyle he desires for himself. He harbors anger and jealous towards Philemon's older son who seems to have everything he wants. After an accident occurs, Onesimus runs away from his master's household. It is not until he hears the teachings of Paul that he disc ...more
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
We enjoyed reading these to our children, but I was a little skeptical about this story of a biblical character and a book published posthumously. However, I was pleased with a good story line, plausible but clearly fiction drawn from scant reference to the biblical character Onesimus.

The context and setting for the story were richly biblical, taken from throughout the New Testament stories of the missionary travels of Paul.

The Christian themes are clear throughout, with nothing that is theolo
Amy Meyers
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
A little too violent when he kills his gladiator friend. The whole section on him being a gladiator wasn't believable. I absolutely loved how she tied together so many cultural, geographical, and theological themes of the Roman Empire at the time of Paul's missionary journeys. Her writing gets bogged down on occasion in descriptions of setting (flora), but otherwise I really appreciate her style of storytelling. I thought I wouldn't like this book as much as some of her others, but I liked it be ...more
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I found this book to be a wonderful piece of historical fiction! It really helped me immerse myself into the time period of the Apostle Paul and the Roman empire. It's told from the perspective of a young man who is a slave of a wealthy family, and the book journeys with him on his "quest" to obtain freedom. Characters from the New Testament such as Aquila and Priscilla make appearances, and of course ~ Paul. It is rich with historical detail, giving insight into the everyday normalcy of the pag ...more
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Historical fiction about the slave Onesimus who is mentioned in the book of Philemon in the Bible.
I read this aloud to my children and this was one of those books which elicited requests for more.
Obviously, there is much that we don't know about Onesimus but this brought to life an imagined scenario along with the distances between towns, their character and life in Roman times.
This is aimed at slightly older children than some of the more well known Patrician St John books (Tanglewood Secret
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful book that imagines what Onesimus' story might have been like. I've always been intrigued by the short book of Philemon and I really enjoyed reading Patricia St John's idea of what the circumstances might have been like. This is not a light read, as St John puts so much into her books with a strong Christian message. I would highly recommend this for young teens looking for a thought provoking read.
Trish Boese
Oct 25, 2017 rated it liked it
3* I enjoyed the story of Onesimus, a slave in the days of the early church. He did not want to become a Christian but Christ pursued him. This book gave a historical picture of what life may have been like during the early church days. The facts in this book are based on Paul's letters, especially his letter to Philemon concerning Onesimus. ...more
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
We read this as a family and all of us were engaged and interested. It was interesting to compare it to the different books of the New Testament. We all found it to be an engaging and fun read that brought the bible to life. I had a few issues with some statements on slavery, but they were discussion points for our family rather than a reason to not read the book.
Mason S
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: assigned
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love St. John's writing, and this novel is no exception. She writes a version of the story of Philemon and Onesimus, staying as close to the biblical account in Acts and Philemon as possible, as well as adding in excellent detail about life and times in the Roman empire. Her insights into slavery to Christ are well worth the short time it takes to read this book. ...more
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
Beautiful story about Onesimus, a slave to Philemon and sin, and his journey to physical and spiritual freedom. I loved this book and found it theologically sound, historically accurate, and respectful of the biblical characters. It's not my age level, but it's very, very good! Highly recommended! ...more
Debbie Sue
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent Biblical history story. However it is as was often the case in that historical time pretty violent in places so i wont reread it but i strongly recommend it to people who enjoy good Biblical fiction.
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have never meet at St. John book I didn't love. ...more
Stacey Thacker
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was required reading for a school for my 6th grader and I actually think I loved it more than she did.
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Patricia Mary St. John spent 27 years as a dedicated missionary to North Africa - and was also a prolific children's writer. Her books are loved and treasured around the world; some have been turned into stirring films. Gripping adventures which cover real life issues are her hallmark. ...more

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