Today, as I am struggling to find something to write about, I’m going to describe to you one of my all-time favorite books! (Goodness, I must find a better word than ‘favorite’.)
Ok, I found some better words. How about, my most prized book? Or, my most cherished book?
Anyways… The book is called Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss. The forward is written by none other than Elisabeth Elliot, in 1992. A review is also written by Joni Eareckson Tada. The author, Elizabeth Prentiss, lived from 1818 to 1878. The book was published in 1869. Elizabeth also wrote the beloved hymn, More Love to Thee, O Christ. So, let’s get started with my review! 😉
This book is an endearing journal by a young woman by the name of Katherine Mortimer. It begins on her birthday, January 15, 1831. She is determined not to give up on this new journal as she had on all of the other ones. “But this time I mean to go on, in spite of everything. It will do me good to read it over, and see what a creature I am.” She starts off by making resolutions, as she lays in her warm bed. As you go on in the book, you see how dreadful she can behave towards her mother and others. What is even more frightful, is that you often see yourself in her. She often confides to her ‘dear journal’ that she wants so badly to change and be good, but she can’t seem to do it! She just continues in her lazy, idle, and disrespectful ways and attitudes. She seems to enjoy criticizing others, only to have a trouble cross her paths causing her to regret her thoughts. And every once in a while, she realizes that “mothers occasionally know more than their daughters do.”. Later on in the book, she meets a Mr. Charlie Underhill. It seems, to the reader and to our dear Kate, that they develop quite a relationship. He unselfishly helps her study, along with two of her friends, of course. Mrs. Mortimer is unhappy that her daughter is spending so much time with this young and immature Charlie Underhill. She eventually insists that the lessons be stopped immediately! And rightly so… for Mr. Underhill had begun expressing his feeling for Kate by writing on pieces of paper. After Kate told the bad news to Charlie, he came and tried talking it over with Mrs. Mortimer. Then came Charlie’s uncle to try to persuade her. And then, at last, the sister of Charlie came “with her pretty ways, and cried, and told Mother what a darling brother Charlie was.” At long last, Kate’s mother put Charlie and Kate on a “one year probation”. And, of course, there were restrictions. So, if the two still wanted to be married by the end of one year, then they were allowed. Soon, the year of probation was over, but then, in a turn of events, Kate became quite ill. But, because it bothered Charlie so much to hear her coughing, she nearly strangled herself trying to keep silent. Eventually, while still quite sick, she writes Charlie a letter saying that she does not think it fair to him that they continue their engagement, as she is so sick that she very well may die. He responds by thanking her for “freeing him”. He goes on saying that he vowed never to marry a consumptive woman, as that is how his mother died. Kate, very upset and indignant that he was so shallow as to have abandon her so readily, responds by saying how foolish, indeed, she had been by not seeing his heartless attitude. And thus ends the story of Mr. Underhill and our dear Kate. However, the story is not over! Kate gets well again and, although she nearly disgusted with the poor, starts visiting them with her mother. She gains a relationship with her Pastor, Dr. Cabot. She learns much and begins a real walk with the Lord, but still makes mistakes, as we all do. She stays with her aunt, for a time, as she helps care for her little cousins. While one of the little children gets sick, Kate meets Dr. Elliot. A very strange and cold looking man. He says very few words and appears very dark. But when he does speak, it is with great intensity and conviction. Kate dislikes him very much. He is so odd! So cold! She wishes that he would soon leave every time he comes to check on the ailing child. Time goes on, and yes, eventually Kate realizes that she has a love for Dr. Earnest Elliot. They become engaged and soon marry. However, “there hasn’t been quite as much ‘honey’ as I expected.” Being that her beloved husband was a doctor, he is called away at strange hours… and very often. She hoped that he would be home every evening, and that they would spend lovely time together! But alas, it is not that way at all. She writes in he journal, “But now that he’s got me he seems satisfied, and goes about his business as if he had been married a hundred years!” She longs for how it was when they were engaged… long and beautiful love letters. But, Earnest longs to understand his dear bride! Not all is lost for our dear Kate. They have many hard, but enlightening, conversations through the book. But things keep getting worse for Kate when Earnest’s father and sister move in. She no longer has Earnest to herself the few hours that he is home. She must share him with prideful and bossy Martha, and strict and downcast Father. And to make matters worse! It seems that Earnest is embarrassed by Kate’s happy and jumpy ways. It seems that he wishes her to be like Martha…. Martha out of all people. And what about poor Mother? She is all alone! But no worries, Earnest and Kate are able to discuss this kindly to each other. The couple have children, and share grief together when they lose their precious son. Along the way, Kate learns from the poor and sick whom she visits, and finds out what happens to Mr. Underhill. I recommend this book to anyone. It is an amazing story; challenging and fun.
Sorry for my description being so long! I hope you’ll skim through it and eventually purchase or borrow the book. It’s available on amazon.com for $18.99 (hard cover) or $6.00 (paper back). It is also available on kindle for $0.99.
Have a blessed evening!
Image taken from Stock Snap.