As the storms of life continue to break around Elsie Dinsmore Travilla and her family, there are terrible tragedies to endure and times of joy as well. The Travilla children are growing up and facing life-altering decisions. Others in the Dinsmore family must confront dramatic upheavals in their lives. As the United States approaches the celebration of its first century as a nation, will Elsie and her family have their own causes to celebrate? How will adversity affect Elsie's world and the hopes of those she loves so dearly?
Elsie's Great Hope again takes readers into the exciting story of a family grounded in Christian love and faith. Adapted from the influential nineteenth century novels by Miss Martha Finley, this eighth book in the series offers modern readers a wealth of hope and wisdom that is as meaningful today as it was over a hundred years ago. Elsie's Great Hope is packed with new adventures and fascinating characters that promise to intrigue and inspire readers of every age.
About the Author
Martha Finley (1828 - 1909) was a remarkable woman whose quiet Christian life has influenced many. A teacher by profession, her writing career began wih Sunday school stories for children. In 1868, her novel Elsie Dinsmore was published and became the publisher's best-selling book that year, spawning a series that sold millions of copies at home and abroad. The Millie books were a follow-up to that series.
Read an Excerpt
A Writer's Journal In the beginning was the Word . . .
'First entry in the personal journal of Molly Percival, dated September 21, 1874:
'I have resolved to be a writer.
'How easy it is now to put that sentence upon this fresh sheet of paper! Yet my journey to this point has been difficult and painful to both body and soul. Most people would say that I should put my troubled past behind me and get on with living. But a writer has just one unfailing source of inspiration from which to draw, and that is her own experience. So I set out on the path I have chosen by beginning this journal. Here, I shall commit what I know of the past and what I see of life in the future. And I will start, as writers often do, with my own story.
'My name is Molly Percival. People who do not know me are surely tempted to pity me, and there was a time not long ago when I pitied myself most of all. Five years ago, I suffered a loss that seemed unbearably cruel. But wait---I shall tell the story as it occurred, not as the heroine of my own tale, but as objectively as I can. For if I am to be a writer, then I must learn the discipline of my craft.
'When I was fourteen, I was living at Roselands, the house of my grandfather. I had no father, for my own Papa was killed in the war, and my stepfather, whom I recall through a child's misty memory, was also lost in that terrible conflict. So I lived at Roselands with my mother and my brother, Dick, and my stepbrother and stepsister, Bob and Betty. I did not understand then the responsibility that my Grandpapa had accepted. His own losses during the war---a wife and two sons---might have made him bitter and inclined to retreat into the solitude of his grief. Yet he opened his home to my family and also to my Aunt Louise, herself a war widow, and her five children.
'My mother is Grandpapa's youngest child. To this day, he sometimes calls her 'Pet,' for that is what she was---the baby of the family, petted, and spoiled by one and all. If I am to be clear-eyed about my story, I must concede that my mother, Enna, never outgrew her childhood. Oh, she grew tall and very pretty and witty in her way, yet the maturity of womanhood eluded her. She retained the liveliness of a girl, and the faults of pampered youth as well. In a way, I think of her still as my vivacious but self-centered and frivolous playmate. She was never prepared to be a mother, for motherhood requires selflessness. And back then, I had not the temperament to be a dutiful and obedient child.
'I can see now that what I am today began on a spring day in 1869. The residents of Roselands had been invited to a picnic at the home of my Cousin Elsie, and Mamma was, as always, determined that we should make an appearance every bit as fine as that of my wealthy cousin and her children. Mamma and a maid spent what seemed like hours dressing me for the event. First this dress, then that dress, then another until Mamma was satisfied. No argument on my part made a dent in her determination. Sashes were tied and retied. My hair was brushed and pinned up with heavy combs, then brushed again and braided, then unbraided and beribboned. Nothing would do but perfection, and the more I protested (which I did without restraint), the more Mamma demanded.
'Having rigged me from head to ankle, she decided that I must be shod in the latest fashion. She had purchased for me a pair of gaiter boots, which laced prettily but rose on high, thin heels that made walking treacherous. I preferred my comfortable black leather boots, which had very little heel. I stamped my foot in protest and shouted that I hated the gaiters and that the heels were dangerous---Grandpapa and Dr. Baron both said so. Mamma would not hear me. She just remarked that the books would make my feet look so dainty. Then she said I must wear them or stay at home. I might have continued my battle with Mamma over the footwear, but at that moment, Dick knocked upon my bedroom door and called out that Grandpapa was waiting in the carriage. The prospect of the picnic at Ion proved a stronger attraction than another argument with Mamma. So I slipped on the high-heeled boots, and the maid laced them while Mamma pinned my straw hat to my hair---repositioning it several times before she was happy with its jaunty angle.
'Released at last, I hurried from my room to the stairway that leads downstairs. The shoes were most uncooperative, and I was in too much of a hurry. I did not even pause at the top of the stairs but stepped down quickly as was my usual habit. There was, I was told later, a worn place in the carpet that covered the stairs, so small it could hardly be seen, and my elegant heel was caught by one of the loose fibers.
'I remember the fall all too vividly---my one foot suddenly resisting any further movement, my other foot slipping away beneath me, and the sensation for an instant in time that I had come unloosed from the ground and was truly flying. I reached for the banister but could not right myself and plunged headlong. And there my memory fails. Dick, who was standing in the hallway below, has said that he had the impression of a bundle of white clothing cascading down the steps. I did not cry out, he says, and it was only when I reached the bottom that he realized the bundle was his own sister. He felt strangely relieved to hear me moaning and instantly called out for help. Two servants came, followed by Grandpapa, who instructed that I be moved from the floor to the large sofa in the parlor. I remember none of this. When I came back to consciousness, Mamma was sitting beside me, and the odor of her smelling salts remains with me still. I saw that Grandpapa was there, too, and Dick---his face as pale as this paper--- and Cousin Cal.'