The Last Hurrah of Elsie Dinsmore! + Series Review

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Old friends are the best friends, and after almost 15 years of publishing and selling the Elsie Dinsmore series, Elsie really does feel like a friend to us at Vision Forum.

For almost 15 years we’ve shared our sweet friend Elsie with tens of thousands of girls and their families around the world. In fact, Elsie Dinsmore is our all-time bestselling girls’ fiction series with more than 50,000 copies sold!

But now the time has come for us to say “Goodbye” to this fine Christian girl, and so we’re offering you one final opportunity to purchase the Elsie Dinsmore books from us — and at a special closeout price.

Through April 27, or while supplies last, save 35% on each Elsie Dinsmore book online. Or, save 50% when you purchase our complete Elsie Dinsmore 12-volume library.

~ Vision Forum

Last year, for my birthday, I approached my Dad to request a specific present for my Birthday. (More like, “Hey Dad, if you wouldn’t mind, um, if you don’t want to you don’t have to but uh…” I hate asking for things.)

For my 19th birthday, I wanted the Elsie Dinsmore Series offered through Vision Forum.

I had a close friend who read had read the books, and kept recommending the series to me. During that time in my life, I felt pressure and criticism for the lifestyle I was choosing to live. Not that those two things are necessarily a bad thing to experience; if you are doing good, they will be tried; and if they are good, they should withstand the trial. But after a while, you can feel drained and weak. I needed some encouragement.

Seeking consolation in this close friend, she told me about Elsie Dinsmore.

Little Elsie was a virtuous little girl who loved the Lord and His word. She was set to obey His commandments and live for Him. The cost was persecution among the family members she lived with. She was said to be a goody two-shoes character. She wouldn’t lie or play bad pranks. She was no fun. She was a strange little girl.

It would make her so, very upset. She didn’t have a mother, and her father was across the Atlantic in Europe. She felt alone…Save for the presence of the Lord. He was her comfort. He was always there to give advice and sooth the hurt for Elsie.

My request was given to me (my Dad was just glad I was specific for once!), and the order was made. It took about two weeks after it was ordered to arrive. I landed a good deal, receiving a $50 dollar gift certificate with the purchase that I used to purchase a bundle that contained Joyfully at Home by Jasmine Baucham, Maidens of Virtue by Stephanie MacDonald, and So Much More by the Botkin sisters.

When it arrived, my first impression was how pretty they all looked. The books are glossy, pink hardbacks. The front has a small illustrated picture and a primrose insignia. The books are right now kept in a box, safe from harm. I hope to purchase a white bookshelf to display them on. They are worth showing!

In July I would start the first book. It left a lasting impression in my mind.

My heart hurt for little timid Elsie, and I would shed an empathetic tear for her every few pages. I know what being a Little Miss Goody Two Shoes, proclaimed holier than thou, suck up feels like. But Elsie was a little girl, and had such a strong faith! She wouldn’t waiver. The Lord was her foundation.

I practically inhaled the books in a span of two months. (There are 12 books.) The fourth book has to be my favorite. (Have you heard the term “fan girling”? Major fan girling going on in that book.) The book where I became most emotional was the seventh one; Elsie’s Widowhood. I don’t think I have ever sobbed that hard to a fictional story ever in my life. (And I am one to become emotional when reading.)

The series inspired me. It drove me to try harder, to not use the people of this world as my standard. That only the Lord can be your true companion; He’s there through thick and thin. The books were a comfort. It made me look forward to the slowing down of the day, so I could lay on my bed and read.

It also helped me along the lines of femininity and womanhood. Elsie was portrayed to be a Proverbs 31 woman, through and through. She was industrious, compassionate, charitable, disciplined..everything! She was illustrated to be beautiful, dainty, youthful; the epitome of femininity.

Basically, she was near perfect.

That’s where I begin to give my warnings and criticisms of the books.

It’s an “either you love’em or hate’em” thing. Some cannot STAND Elsie and her “prissy” little ways. She definitely raises the bar when it comes to expectations. It can be a personality thing. Not every woman aspires to be a china doll, haha.

I understood the context of the book, and the motive of the author. The author, Martha Finely, wanted to write a wholesome book to help teach children godliness and good morals. Elsie and her companions were portrayed as humans, but it wasn’t written in a cynical manner, as it was directed to young people. I thoroughly enjoyed it, although I do know that some of my friends would loathe reading her tales.

I would like to warn about some of the doctrine written in the books. The author was a Presbyterian, and reflects that within the books. (Not to be compared to modern Presbyterians, these books were written in the 19th century.) It’s also very Puritanical. Elsie keeps the Sabbath on Sunday, she is not allowed to use any exaggerations or to be a flatterer, it’s not Christian to play cards, etc. These things aren’t necessarily bad; in fact, they might be worth following. But as far as them being doctrinal mandates, I see some issues with it.

Throughout the books the Gospel is given; the path to salvation made plain and clear. Emphasis of loving and obeying God is made over and over again. Dependency on Him and His word is made obvious.

I look forward to read the books with any children I might have in the future, if the Lord has that in mind for me.

Vision Forum is offering a great deal right now, and may be worth taking up on. It would make for a good gift, for birthdays or for Christmas! They offer the best deal as far as quality goes, but Elsie’s books are offered through different outlets. You can find the series on eBay (audio included) and free on Kindle format through Amazon.

Elsie made a good impact in my life, and I remain thankful to those who recommended her to me. Look around, do your research, and come to your own conclusion. Regardless of controversy, I appreciated Martha Finley’s series. You may, too.

I want to thank Vision Forum for offering these books for the past 15 years for people to purchase and enjoy; long enough for me to get them into my possession just a year ago. What a blessing it has been.

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