This first historical fiction book in the "Life of Faith" series by Martha Finley is published by Zonderkidz.
Elsie's Endless Wait is written for kids ages 10 to 14. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Elsie Dinsmore, a gentle 8-year-old girl, lives on her grandfather's plantation. The genteel life of a plantation owner in the 1830s, when this book takes place, is supported by the institution of slavery. Elsie's mother died when she was born, and Elsie has waited all her life to meet her father, who does not desire to have a relationship with his daughter. She stirs up painful memories of his wife. When Elsie's father finally does come home, his pride and resentment have prejudiced him against loving his little daughter. Elsie must struggle to win her father's love without help from her relatives and schoolteacher, who do not treat her as a family member. Elsie clings to her strong faith in God, taking comfort in the love of Jesus and God's Word as she faces her own fears and weaknesses, as well as those of her father. In time, Horace learns to treat Elsie as a father should.
Elsie has been taught to love Jesus by her nursemaid and former teacher, so she knows the Bible well. She goes to God's Word to find comfort and wisdom to carry her through her struggles. She has a pure belief in God's love for her. Her faith sustains her even when she is lonely and mistreated. The family she lives with goes to church, but they do not have a relationship with God. Elsie eventually leads her aunt to God, and other believers befriend Elsie in the story.
Elsie's father, Horace, struggles to understand how a good father should treat his child. He misuses his authority at times, becoming harsh, cold and even cruel in his treatment of Elsie. Eventually, he is able to show tenderness and love to his daughter. Elders expect to be obeyed without question and corporal punishment is used to discipline the children.
Other Belief Systems
The Dinsmore family attends church out of tradition and to show others that they are God-fearing people.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- How does Elsie try to win her father's love?
Do you think her goal is realistic?
How might her plan have eventually damaged her own spirit?
Have you ever tried to earn God's love?
Why does God love His children?
- What is Horace's attitude toward discipline?
What is his opinion on forgiveness?
Does he express love and grace to Elsie?
Do his actions reflect God's treatment as the perfect Father?
How are they different?
What characteristics make God the perfect Father?
- As the Dinsmore children watch Horace and Elsie grow in their relationship, how does their opinion of Elsie change?
Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.