Book Review: Stepping Heavenward

“…if God chooses quite another lot for you, you may be sure that He sees that you need something totally different from what you want.”

– Elizabeth Prentiss Stepping Heavenward*

About the Book

Katy Mortimer is turning sixteen, and her mother has gifted her with a journal. Katy takes the journal, and records the next several years of her life. She journeys through the teenage years of questions and rebellion, the young adult tragedies and joys of finding love, the challenges and wonder of motherhood, and most of all, the humbling, satisfying walk with her Savior, as she steps heavenward.

About the Author

Elizabeth Payson Prentiss was born in Portland, Maine on October 26, 1818. She was the daughter of a popular puritan preacher, and eventually married one herself. As an adult, she began to explore her love of writing, after her dreams of teaching were short-lived due to illness. The results were published in several periodicals, and eventually she had fourteen books published, several novels and short story compilations. Stepping Heavenward is her most well known book. The trademark of Prentiss’ work is her deep rooted spiritual elements. Her writings spur others on to love Christ, no matter the cost. She died in Dorset, Vermont on August 13, 1878 at the age of fifty-nine. Her writings have since continued to encourage and edify followers of Jesus Christ around the world.

Some Personal Thoughts…

If one were to ask me to give them one book, aside from the Bible, that changed my life more than any other, I would hand them a copy of Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss. I have a simple paperback copy that is creased and scuffed from all the times I have reread it. My Mother gifted it to me several years ago, during a time when I was struggling deeply with trusting God. This little book, changed the way I thought about life, about God, and about myself. It is a treasure, that I can recommend without hesitation to any person, male or female.

To the women: beware, this book will hurt. It will convict you, on a deep level. Mrs. Prentiss has no difficulty in addressing the deep questions, doubts, and desires of a woman’s heart. There are times when the answers to Katy’s questions, are not the ones we desire to hear, but are the ones we desperately need to hear.

I like to relate reading this book to removing a splinter. Splinters hurt, and upon receiving one, the first thing you desire is relief of pain. But more often than not, the pain relieving process, ends up causing more pain before relieving any. We know though, that the only way to completely heal the wound, and thus eliminate the pain, is to remove the splinter, no matter how much the process hurts.

But more often than not, the pain relieving process, ends up causing more pain before relieving any.

This book does to the heart, what removing a splinter does to the body.

To the men: would you like to understand the women in your life better? Would you like to get an idea of why certain things are so hard for your wives, your daughters, your sisters, or your mothers? Would you like to be able to better encourage them in the battles they face day in and day out? Read this book. HOWEVER, don’t read it expecting not to be changed yourself. Mrs. Prentiss offers many eternal truths that change the way anyone looks at life, not just the women. Let it encourage you, both in your relationships with sisters in Christ, and your walk with the Lord.

Things Worth Mentioning…

Stepping Heavenward

This book is a true gem. Clean as a whistle while still handling hard topics with wisdom and grace that is sorely needed in today’s generation.

While it has a happy ending, it takes quite a journey to reach it. There are several parts of the book that are heart wrenching. Death is something Katy knows all to well by the final page, as she does suffering and loss.

I believe that often, we find the greatest hope in tragedy. Happy endings are of no value if the beginning and middle were just as much so. When I closed the final page of Stepping Heavenward I was encouraged, rather than disheartened.

Happy endings are of no value if the beginning and middle were just as much so.

I would recommend this book without hesitation, and here at The Corner Shelf, you’ll find it on The Top Shelf. 

*From Stepping Heavenward, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used with permission.

6 thoughts on “Book Review: Stepping Heavenward

  1. This too is a favorite of mine, although kept on my middle shelf so I can reach it better. This treasured book is an 1899 copy. Only a few years ago I discovered that E Prentiss wrote the precious hymn More Love to Thee. —- time for me to reread this timeless gem!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. An 1899 copy?! That is fabulous! Oh, I love that hymn so much!! I played it during communion at church just a few weeks ago. She was a wise lady, and I’m grateful for what she left behind!


  2. Stepping Heavenward?! I’m so glad to read this review and to hear of someone young who loves Elizabeth Prentiss’ delightful classic. It’s been a favorite of mine for years (since I read it in my young 20’s) and I appreciate the realness of the main character’s voice (Katy), as she grows to know and love Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

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