Middle Shelf, Non-Fiction Reviews

{Book Review} Elizabeth Prentiss: More Love to Thee

To love Christ more – this is the deepest need, the constant cry of my soul. Down in the bowling alley, and out in the woods, and on my bed, and out driving, when I am happy and busy, and when I am sad and idle, the whisper keeps going up for more love, more love, more love!

-Elizabeth Prentiss

About the book…

Elizabeth Prentiss was the author of many classic Christian stories, the most popular being Stepping Heavenward. She also penned the beloved hymn, More Love to Thee. Her story is one not commonly known, and Sharon James delivers it in this beautiful biography from Banner of Truth. Factual, short, and personal, this little book gives the readers of Prentiss’ own books, a glimpse into the mind and heart of their writer.

About the author…

Sharon James has written several books, and speaks at conferences worldwide on Biblical womanhood. She grew up in England and now resides there with her husband, Bill, where he pastors a church in Warwickshire. She has degrees in history, theology, and a doctorate from the University of Wales. She was saved at a young age, and continues to spur others on to follow Christ through her writing and speaking.

Some personal thoughts…

If you have been following the blog for any length of time, you know that Stepping Heavenward is my favorite book aside from the Bible. I leapt with excitement upon the discovery of a biography of its author. I ordered the book, and thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

I’ve loved history, literature, and theology since I was a little girl, and this book was all three rolled into one. Sharon James does not mess around lightly with facts, the book was rich with historical context, and Prentiss’ own journal entries and fragments of letters. The tension of the Civil War, rise of evangelical Christianity, and depiction of culture for women in that century were articulated eloquently, and vividly.

This book is a historical and very factual retelling of Elizabeth Prentiss’ life, which I am grateful to have. However, I was looking forward to knowing Elizabeth better upon reading it, whereas I feel as though I just know more about her. Still, such an accurate picture is a wonderful thing to have, and I am grateful to Sharon James for her dedication and work to provide it! Knowing the story of the one who wrote Stepping Heavenward, I do believe, will enrich your reading of it.

I was surprised to learn that many of the heart wrenching topics Prentiss writes about in her own works, were largely autobiographical. Suffering was a constant theme in her life, and always alongside it was always a deep longing to love her Savior more. I was challenged in my own walk with the Lord when I read of her devotion and dedication. She started writing at a young age, weaving eternal truths into her stories for young children. This theme continued as she grew older, and has since impacted many readers for the glory of Christ.

The theological development of both Elizabeth and her husband, George, was fascinating. They lived in the early rising of evangelical Christianity, and in the wake of the Civil War. Both of these things, as one would imagine, impacted their lifestyles and their understanding of Christianity. In the back of the book, James takes a deeper look at some of the prevailing philosophies of that day and age, and the Prentiss’ as a comparison. Heavily addressed in the book is the concept of Perfectionism, which was something I had not previously studied in great detail and look forward to further research in the future. It was a philosophy Elizabeth strongly disagreed with, and understanding her reasonings for doing so will illuminate things in her writing that were beforehand, seemingly insignificant. The importance of Scripture, and Scripture alone being where we draw our conclusions regarding God and ourselves is heavily stressed in this biography, which I deeply appreciated. I expected no less with a Banner of Truth book.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed Stepping Heavenward. It is a book I am glad to have on my shelf, and will no doubt be loaning it out frequently.

Things worth mentioning…

This book chronicles the life of a woman who experienced great suffering. Death and sorrow are no strangers in these pages, but more familiar than even they is the sweet hope of Jesus and eternal life.

Here at The Corner Shelf you’ll find Elizabeth Prentiss: More Love to Thee on: The Middle Shelf.

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