Homeschool Crew Review: Captain Bayley’s Heir

Lately, we’ve been spending a lot of time in the car driving one of our children to various appointments.  We’ve been passing the time and “car schooling” with audio books.  Recently, we got to listen to another fabulous Heirloom Audio Productions audio book, this time Captain Bayley’s Heir.

About Captain Bayley’s Heir

Captain Bayley's Heir

The story centers around two cousins, Frank and Fred, as well as Alice.  Captain Bayley is Alice’s guardian as her parents died of typhoid fever.

Alice relates a story to the boys about Captain Bayley.  He worked for years in India.  He married, but his wife died after two years of marriage, but not before they had a daughter together.  They sent their daughter, Ella, back to England, believing she could have a better life there.  After 20 years in India, Captain Bayley comes home and finds his daughter all grown up and in love with Patrick, an art instructor and commoner.  Captain Bayley tried to stop their union, but Ella went ahead and married Patrick against her father’s wishes.  Later, Captain Bayley has a change of heart and sends her a letter asking to see her again, but she has already left.  He hired a detective to find her, but the detective lost the trail.

Meanwhile, at school, Frank learns of a fight that will occur between the town boys and the Westminster boys.  Frank and Fred try to stop the fight, but instead they’re caught in the middle of it.  Frank injures one of the boys, and soon after receives a blackmail letter telling him to pay 10 pounds or the boy will reveal what happened to himself and that Frank was responsible.

Frank does not have 10 pounds, but he gets the money in a letter from a “friend.”  Frank is overjoyed to pay the boy and leave the matter behind him until he’s called to his headmaster’s office a few days later and accused of stealing a 10 pound note from his desk.

Frank sends a letter to Captain Bayley, but when the letter receives no response, Frank flees from the trouble in his life.  He goes to America, where he will stay for the next three years.

Thanks to the generosity of many he meets on his journey, Frank ends up looking for gold in California.  On the way there, Frank sees horrible sights including dead pioneers.  His caravan is also caught up in a fight with Native Americans.

Meanwhile, back home, Captain Bayley finds out that Ella is dead.  He learns that at first Ella and Patrick lived by the sale of Ella’s jewels.  However, Patrick lost his job as a teacher and started drinking.  They fell into debt, and Patrick did finally get a job, but he kept drinking and got run over by a delivery carriage and was killed instantly.  Ella was left with a 6 month old and left town.  Ella was suffering from an advanced case of consumption and died.  Her headstone wasn’t even given a name, just a number.

Back in America, after years of adventure, Frank gets shot in a stage coach robbery that he tried to intervene in.  This event helps Frank reunite with his family.

Of course, I’ve left out some details of the story, especially the details that lead to two unexpected, exciting plot twists in the story.

About The Captain Bayley’s Heir Study Guide

Once again, Heirloom Audio Productions has done an excellent job with this study guide.  Like study guides for their other productions, this one contains the following parts:

Listening Well.  These are basic comprehension questions to make sure your child can follow the story, such as, “What did Captain Bayley do to find Ella?”

Thinking Further.  These are questions that require longer answers and more thought such as, “Now that you’ve heard more from Captain Bayley, what sort of man do you think he is?  Why do you say so?”

Defining Words.  These are both vocabulary words that your child may not know such as “incorrigible” and “churl” as well as old terms we may not be as familiar with such as “rheumatic fever” and “typhoid fever.”

Expand Your Learning.  This section appears every once in a while and explains things that students may not already know about the time the story takes place such as “Victorian Money”, “Manifest Destiny”, “Important People During the Gold Rush”, “A New Kind of Family”, and “Gold Rush Mining Camps.”

In addition, there are several supplements at the end including a suggestion of books for learning more about Victorian England and the American West and three different Bible studies related to the story.

As part of our review, we received not only the physical copy of the CD, but the downloadable items including the study guide, Captain Bayley’s Heir online audio, Captain Bayley’s Heir e-book, the official soundtrack, a printable cast poster, inspirational hymn poster, and desktop wallpaper download.

How We Used Captain Bayley’s Heir

The kids and I listened to this audio book together.  They were a bit confused in the beginning because the story seemed to jump around, going from Frank, Fred, and Alice to Captain Bayley’s past to Mr. and Mrs. Hall.  However, all of those separate pieces fell into place in the middle of the story, and their confusion was cleared up.

I did ask them some questions from the study guide, but we didn’t use it fully.  (When I used Heirloom Audio productions a few years ago exclusively with Bookworm, I had him use the complete study guide, and we found it an excellent way to dig deeper into the story.  If your kids are 10 or older, I highly recommend using the full study guide.)

Final Thoughts

Once again, Heirloom Audio Productions has made a fabulous audio book that keeps listeners engaged.  Every time I review one of their audio books, I think, “This one is my favorite!”, but then the next one comes, and I love it just as much.  While I’ve found every audio story from Heirloom Audio Productions accessible to younger kids, this one especially seems to be so.  My kids were just as surprised by the plot twists as I was!

We have reviewed several Heirloom Audio Productions audiobooks.  Check out our other reviews:

In the Reign of Terror

The Cat of Bubastes

Beric the Briton

The Dragon and the Raven

With Lee in Virginia

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