Title: Elsie Dinsmore
Author: Martha Finley
Series: Elsie Dinsmore series, book 1
Major Themes: Christian Character, United States, 1800s
Synopsis: Elsie Dinsmore’s father has come home at last—but will he ever learn to share her values, and love her as a father ought to love his daughter?
I first read Elsie Dinsmore for school, and loved it immediately, even though it is meant for younger readers. I think the most surprising thing about the book is that Elsie is perfect—whenever she does something wrong she always realizes her fault, and asks for forgiveness. Her story also challenged me, and made me see how far I still have to go to follow the Lord as I ought to.
Elsie has never met her father. He’s been in Europe all eight years of her life, and while she loves him with her whole being he never seems to want to acknowledge the fact that she is his daughter. One morning, they receive news that he is on his way home—and Elsie hopes with all her heart that he will love her.
Bitter disappointment soon replaces the hope she has. Horace Dinsmore barely notices her, and when he does it is only to deliver a rebuke for her wrongdoing. The little girl, starved for love, prays sincerely that her father will turn to Christ and learn to love her—but hope seems useless. Will the pain of the past always haunt her relationships? Will she ever be loved for who she is, not the ideal of what others think she should be?
Elsie Dinsmore made me cry, made me smile, and gave me much food for thought. Even though Elsie is sorely tried at times, she still lays everything on Jesus, and chooses to forgive over being bitter. I was very impressed with the amount of ups-and-downs that are in this book—the pace was kept up well, even though it is an old classic. I had a bit of trouble getting into it the first time, but after the first couple chapters it was easy to keep reading. Elsie Dinsmore will definitely be added to my bookshelf when I have my own home one day.
Listening Level—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 10 – 12, 12 – 15