Title: Elsie’s Girlhood
Author: Martha Finley
Series: Elsie Dinsmore series, book 3
Major Themes: Courtship, Godly Living
Synopsis: Elsie has fallen in love with a man she believes is the one for her—but when her father realizes his true character, is she willing to submit and trust God will work everything out?
The third book in the Elsie Dinsmore series, Elsie’s Girlhood is another lovely book. I expected this book wouldn’t be quite as exciting or heart-wrenching as Elsie’s Holidays at Roselands, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that expectation was wrong!
This book traces the years after Elsie and her father’s reunion and eventual move to the Oaks. Mr. Dinsmore remarries, taking Elsie’s friend Rose as his new wife. Then, as Elsie grows up—still the obedient daughter she has always tried to be—she begins to have suitors come seeking her hand. Mr. Dinsmore will hear nothing of the idea—even though he married his first wife, Elsie’s mother, when she was just 15 or 16. He says Elsie will not marry before she’s 21, at least!
One of Elsie’s first suitors was a crippled boy she had known since they were both little—they loved each other, but Mr. Dinsmore thought it wouldn’t be good for her to marry a cripple so he said no. Then her wayward cousin Arthur gambled his way into deep debt. In order to pay it off, he promised he’d help the man he owed money to, to marry Elsie, and therefore receive the vast fortune that was hers. This man was a renegade of the worst sort—drinking and gambling being only part of his many sins—but Elsie didn’t know that—and soon she fell in love with him. Will she be saved from a potentially dangerous and definitely unhappy marriage?
I love Elsie’s Girlhood, because not only does Elsie severely struggle to obey her father in this book, there is also a realness about her feelings through the story. While this still portrayed an almost-too-perfect heroine, it’s also a great reminder of how we need to obey our God-given authorities—even when we don’t understand why they’re telling us to do things we don’t want to do.
WARNING: This book contains a bit of clean romance—it never goes beyond mentioning a kiss.
Reading Independently—Ages 10 – 12, 12 – 15, 15 and Above