I received my first Lamplighter book as a gift for my fifth birthday from my grandparents: Teddy’s Button. I was too young to read it myself, but I remember my dad read it aloud to me and my sisters. After that they gave Lamplighters to my sisters as well, and the tradition continued for nearly ten years. I said to myself that Lamplighter doesn’t need a review, because they are a trustworthy publisher, and I believe that I could select any title from their collection and read it trusting that it contains no bad material. (Excepting one or two with doubtful themes, perhaps.) But at the same time, they do need a review because not enough people can know about them. Their books have had a huge impact on my tastes in fiction and my style of writing. They are the forgotten Christian literature of the past, yet many were bestsellers of their day. Here are a few of my personal favorites:
The House of Love by Elizabeth Cheney
Abigail Wilde is rearing her daughter to be a part of Waverly Ridge society, out of determination to overcome her own failure in trying. She hires a servant to help, one Doris Avery, a ten-year-old orphan whose sweet spirit and voice endear her to the gentlefolk at the ridge. As they invite the lonesome child into their homes and their hearts, envy rages in Abigail Wilde’s spirit and she plots revenge. But in order to keep Doris Avery from Europe and the prized position she covets for her Aurelia, she must outwit the hired boy, the postmistress, and the whole of the Ridge society.
I just adore this story. I love Kelsey, (best farm hand ever), the dear spinster Miss Graves, and Robert’s anxieties, and his frenzied search for his dream singer. The portrait of the Ridge society and the surrounding farming community is vivid. The King’s Gold is another excellent read from the same author, but The House of Love was written years later and the development in Mrs. Cheney’s writing during that time is significant. There is almost no flaw in The House of Love. (Besides the extensive ‘information dump’ at the beginning which was so popular during that period.)
The Lost Clue by Mrs. O. F. Walton
After his father suffers complete losses in business, Kenneth Fortescue must forsake his wealthy friends and habits and make his own way. He is not the only one to suffer loss–the monies of a widow his father managed by his father were lost as well. His honor demands he make reparations to the lady, despite his own losses, while her daughter Marjorie takes employment to help the finances. Before he died, Kenneth’s father notified him of a letter that he has left to be opened after he dies, but all Kenneth finds in the safe are several blank sheets of paper. Red flags are raised, yet all his searches lead to dead ends, and Kenneth Fortescue’s world becomes intertwined with Marjorie’s as together they uncover the mystery of the lost clue.
This is my most recent pick and I loved it. I read the first few chapters quite a while back, and now I can see inspiration from it seeping into my latest project. 🙂 I have no thoughts. It’s an excellent book and I totally recommend it.
Joel, a Boy of Galilee (No author attribution)
Joel is a boy of the tribe of Levi in the days of Jesus’ ministry. He anticipated serving in the temple until his fall; the accident left him a cripple, and he is barred from performing duties in the temple. Now Joel studies carpentry under the watchful eye of Benjamin and plots his revenge against Reuben, the boy who is responsible for his injuries. But after the Rabbi Jesus of Nazareth comes to his village, Joel is never the same.
This is a lovely story of healing and forgiveness, and a realistic portrayal of life in the times of Jesus. The story follows his ministry through the years of a boy, from Galilee to Jerusalem, the Crucifixion, and His Resurrection.
Are any of these your favorites? Tell me about yours in the comments below! 🙂