Government-hating, conservative, religious fanatics versus more liberal, Protestant, law-abiding citizens is what the reader finds in Our Orbit by Anesa Miller.
Forced from their home by agents after the arrest of their father, the Winslow children must come to terms with their sudden independence and change of environment. Ranging in ages from adult to high school to middle school, the children are split up among relatives and foster parents. In the Winslow household, the men are significantly dominant, oppressing the women and girls. The older girl rebels and eventually finds herself in gravid trouble. The younger daughter is barely aware of her circumstances until she learns from her foster family what it was like to have new clothes and a haircut. After a sheltered rural life, she discovers a much broader world and unwittingly conducts social experiments with her new family.
The teenage boy, Josh, finds himself trying to bring his family back together. He doesn’t care for the more liberal culture taking his sisters away from their Church and manner of faith. He preaches hate under the guise of God’s word and attempts to turn his sisters against their keepers to win them back. But, as much as he preaches against sin, he allows himself to commit his own and dismisses it, promising himself he will defeat the devil when the time comes. A clear double-standard is played between male and female characters.
Each turn of events is fraught with its own stresses, and the reader is pulled into the lives of the characters through the use of inner thoughts contrary to the outward action of the scene. Each character is drawn with intimate realism inside and out, allowing for a strong flow of empathy that enhances the story.
Nine-year-old Miriam Winslow never wore new clothes, never had a haircut, and believes that sinners must repent with dramatic displays of remorse, or harm will come to their loved ones. Now thrust into foster care, Miriam must adapt to a secular lifestyle while struggling to keep in touch with her past. Foster parents Rick and Deanne Fletcher quickly come to love their “new little girl.” Soon they meet the rest of Miriam’s family. Uncle Dan believes he was abducted by aliens. Sister Rachelle, just out of juvenile detention, harbors painful secrets. Brother Josh is outraged that the Fletchers disrespect Christian teachings. He vows to take Miriam out of their home and put a stop to meddling in his family’s way of life.