A Must Read: The Promises of Ophelia Bennett


I have read many of Cec Murphey‘s books and loved them all. However, in my estimation, his best yet is one of his newest fictions The Promises of Ophelia Bennett. The quiet Mrs. Bennett brings so much more to her students than the ability to read and write. In her promises, her “poorest of poor” students learn that they have a place in this world and they are intelligent beings. In the classroom of children, Murphey introduces many characters to the reader in such a way that the reader feels a personal connection to each one. I wept at the ending but came away with a desire to have known this Mrs. Bennett in my early days of teaching. Since reading this book, I have purchased three copies to give to my past English students who have all become English teachers themselves. Thank you, Cec, for writing such a poignant story to encourage all teachers that they too can reach the heart of a child. Great read for all parents too.

Categories Book Reviews | Tags: , , , | Posted on June 6, 2015

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1 Comment

  1. by David Barkey

    On December 14, 2015

    Cecil Murphey has created a character who personifies Christlike qualities in the body of a middle-aged matron school teacher in 1940 Central Ilinois. Ophelia Bennett is so perfect she accomplished something no teacher preceding her at North Prairie School was able to do: Every student loved her and became the highest academic achievers of the whole district. Every one of her predecessors had been driven out of the school by the students. Ophelia magically had the wild bunch bowing at her feet within the first week. So successful was she, her students begged her not to make them stay home over Thanksgiving break. On top of that, the parents had her dismissed because she didn’t send the kids home with a ton of homework.
    Cec’s description of the school and teachers reminded me of my own early school experiences in a small Illinois town populated by poor white folks. The only blacks we ever saw were across the Mississippi River in East St. Louis. I remember having my knuckles wacked with a ruler for some small infraction. We enjoyed playing at recess on equipment now judged to be life-endangering.
    The story of Ophelia proclaims the power of prayer and the irresistible influence of a godly servant who unashamedly demonstrated genuine love for her students. She kept her promises to faithfully pray for each of them.

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