Title: Elsie’s Holidays at Roselands
Author: Martha Finley
Series: Elsie Dinsmore series, book 2
Major Themes: Christian Character, United States, 1800s
Synopsis: Elsie’s father demands she go against her conscience, but she refuses—and when she gets terribly sick, will he be able to forgive her enough to come see her before she dies?
Elsie’s Holidays at Roselands has made me cry the most out of all the other books in the Elsie Dinsmore series. When she refuses to go against her conscience in obeying her father, he decides he must punish her until she relents. He tells her he will not allow her in his presence, limits the amount of people she can associate with, and overall makes her be in disgrace with everyone around.
Elsie, torn between wanting to do right and longing for her father’s love, must decide whether to obey Biblical principles or learn to live with a guilty conscience. After trying numerous ways to break her, he eventually decides to leave for a time. All alone, with no one to talk to, and everyone belittling her beliefs, she slowly turns from a bright, cheerful child into a sad, thin, lifeless little girl.
Then word comes from her father, telling her that if she does not relent to his will she will be sent to a convent to live. This new news causes her already weakened condition to worsen, and she is soon quite sick. Her aunt—one who has learned to love her a little—calls for a doctor, but he shakes his head when he sees the extent of her sickness. In desperation, she sends many letters to Horace, begging him to give up his desire to break his child and come back before it is too late. Each day, though, Elsie’s condition worsens until she is no longer conscious of what is going on around her. Even if her father gets the letters and arrives in time, the doctor has given up hope that she will recover. Will Horace forgive his daughter? Even if he does, will he be able to tell her he has forgiven her before she dies?
I believe Elsie’s Holidays at Roselands is one of the best out of all the Elsie Dinsmore books. In this book, Elsie is tried the most severely, and almost breaks under the pressure. Even though the climax comes half-way through the book, it’s still a poignant picture of our struggles as Christians between the flesh and being Christ-like.
Listening Level—Ages 8 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 10 – 12, 12 – 15