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Reviews of Children of the Manse

Reaction to KEZI TV, Eugene, Oregon interview of Lewis Richard Luchs discussing his new book, Children of the Manse. 


“What a powerful and moving tale…and what a happy ending!  For years I’ve served on the CASA Baltimore Board…I’ve passed this video on and a recommendation for the book to our executive director and the board.”
- Leslie D. Brown, Baltimore, MD

“This video is one of the most eloquent and convincing glimpses I have ever seen into the enormous scope of the human capacity for healing of early trauma. “
- Rod Gorney, MD, PhD, UCLA

A review by Megan Shultz, Executive Director of CASA in Lane County

What happens when the inability to truly love becomes generational? What does love look like behind the tears of an angry young boy? How does love conquer fear through the tender words and safe arms of a woman who yearned to be a mother? Children of the Manse is a story of love complicated by pain, of the power to heal a wounded child, and lay the foundation for future promise. It is a story of the power of love that every adoptive parent, social worker and foster parent should read.



A review by Gila Freeberg, LCSW.  Napa, California

I have just finished reading Children of the Manse by Lewis Richard Luchs and I loved it!

Children of the Manse is Mr. Luchs’ heart-felt personal exploration of his history of neglect, abandonment, and eventual adoption, an experience he shared with three younger siblings.  The four children grew abnormally close to each other during their difficult early years.   

He tells this story from the point of view of a child but his detailed memories are enlarged and authenticated by his research, and especially by the social workers’ case files he was finally able to obtain from Ohio authorities.  In the files, he found: biological family histories; psychological evaluations; references to his father’s prison records; the pre-adoption interviews of biological family members by social workers; medical histories; and a journal of events for the 26 months the children spent in a bleak county children’s home.           

I enjoyed how this story examines what life was like for many foster children of the l940s, and what poverty, suffering, and the lack of education do to a child’s psychological development.

But the children’s fate changed dramatically when they are placed in the home (the manse) of a popular young clergyman and his wife, who work to restore their new family’s physical and emotional health.  At the same time, the children are thrust into a different culture and university- sponsored elementary school, which leads to many funny and loving memories.

As Lewis describes the dramatic change in the children’s circumstances:

“It was true, as Ann wrote, that we were happy at the Luchs and that our first weeks had been a honeymoon.  No wonder.  The four of were together for the time in over two years.  We had never been in such comfortable, spacious surroundings, eaten such good food, or slept in such pleasant rooms or beds.  We had privacy for the first time I could remember, and our own closets and dresser drawers for our new clothes and new shoes.  We could talk at meals in our turn and, incredibly, second helpings of food were available just for asking.” 

“Our lives were suddenly full of excitement and beauty – carpentry tools, boxes of books, field trips to the country and free and noisy romps through the woods, a delightful neighborhood of people to meet, a large back yard to play in, and a red-brick school on a university campus three blocks away.  While unending tedium filled our hours at the children’s home, we were now involved in a stimulating round of activities that never seemed to end.  Janey would later sum up our first years in the manse and the surrounding neighborhood with, “What an exciting place to be a child!”

This book should be on any reading list that professes to serve others in a counseling or educational capacity.  I was especially taken by the value Lewis gives to professionals who work in the fields of social welfare and education.  I would also recommend this book for use in the training programs of foster and adoptive parents. 

We need more books such as this that not only bring hope -- the underlying theme of Children of the Manse -- but address the importance of education and social welfare in healing wounded children and, thereby, building a better society. 



A review by Pierre L. Van Rysselberghe, Senior Judge,
State of Oregon Circuit Court, Retired

Children of the Manse is a personal reflection by one of four siblings who comes to terms with his biological family and by which he learns to understand familial disengagements and attachments.  The relating of his story allows him to assess and harmonize his feelings toward his biological parents, his three siblings, and his adoptive parents. 

The work is an illustration of what thousands of neglected and abused children experience.  Many children are never rescued from their circumstances of poverty, abuse and neglect.  Although attempts are made to improve the lives of many of these children, success is limited and many flounder within the temporary care system which results in limited or unfulfilled opportunities in life. 

Children who somehow manage to survive their impoverished circumstances to ultimately experience a world of love, security and opportunity are the fortunate and perhaps rare examples of the best that child care services and adoption can provide. 

The author is the eldest of four children, three brothers and one sister, who are placed by their inadequate parents in a children’s care home.  There they reside for two and one-half years until a gifted social worker uncorks the bottle of promise by finding a remarkable placement that becomes their permanent home.  It is a bitter-sweet, sometimes humorous, deeply moving story. 

A glaring light is cast on the helplessness of children who are born into dysfunctional homes in which they are mistreated and perhaps genuinely unwanted.  The writer describes the unique family that selflessly welcomes the four children into their home of warmth and encouragement.  It is a remarkable description in which the reader celebrates with the author. 

Finally, it is a story about a caring child welfare worker who tirelessly champions the needs of children in their limbo years of temporary child welfare life.  The magic of her resolve and insight blends the children’s hopes of which they are unaware to a couple who are seeking an opportunity to have children of their own.  How often can such a match be made and how often with such remarkable success?

Lewis Richard Luchs understands these delicate features of life about which so many are ignorant.  He has walked the impossible path and survived to come accomplished in his career in the diplomatic service, as a musician and as a champion for children who benefit from caring and loving adoptive homes. 

His story exposes human frailties while it exalts human kindness and generosity.  The road travelled by the four Luchs siblings leads to a triumph of the human spirit.

lewis richard luchs


Lewis Richard Luchs is a retired Foreign Service officer who worked in seven capitals in Africa, Europe, and Asia and was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in l985. 

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© Copyright 2009 Lewis Richard Luchs. All rights reserved.
No part of this website may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage or retrieval system without permission from the Lewis Richard Luchs, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review.Children of the Manse, by Lewis R Luchs. Published October, 2009. Children of the Manse entertains as it describes how four wounded children respond to intelligent and loving foster care. ISBN 978-0-578-03523-9, 9780578035239

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