Saturday, October 25, 2008

Stepping Heavenward

A few years ago a dear friend of mine recommended a book to me that is her favourite - Stepping Heavenward. I trusted her judgement fully, so went out and bought it. Since then I've read it three times and am always ready to read it again.
I've been doing some book reviews for RHB, where a friend of mine works, and so I thought I'd take the opportunity to review Stepping Heavenward. So, here it is! :)

The name Elizabeth Prentiss is commonly recognized, as she was the daughter of Edward Payson – one of the great revival preachers of the early 19th century – and was the author of the beautiful hymn “More Love to Thee.” She was also a writer with over 20 publications, including perhaps her most well known work - Stepping Heavenward.
In Stepping Heavenward, Prentiss writes about a vivacious and truth-seeking girl – Katherine Mortimer – in a style set forth as though we are reading her journal. Starting on her 16th birthday, we are taken through Katy’s life, seeing all of her ups and downs and ultimately the role of faith throughout.
From her oftentimes-petty adolescent goings-on, to her first engagement, we see Katy as young in her faith as she’s trying to find her way in life. As she grows into womanhood and faces many trials, her faith takes root deeper and deeper until, when faced with the most severe tribulations of her life – including losing her first son, mother and brother – she is wholly able to rest in her faith and stand during wearisome and difficult times with a humble and meek spirit. The example of Katherine Mortimer’s life is wonderful for any woman (or man) – young or old – as Prentiss writes with such honesty and openness of the struggles, questions, and temptations in life and faith. Katy isn’t perfect, and she knows it. But seeing her strive and hold fast in her faith is truly inspiring.
As you read through this book it’s very hard to believe that it’s fiction. Many have been wrongly led to believe this was Prentiss’ actual journal. But although it’s not a real life story of a specific person, there is no doubt that real life experiences and emotions are woven all throughout. Because of its truth and detail of the journey of faith, this is a book that anyone can relate to – men or women. Although women usually flock to it, I’ve known many men who have wholly enjoyed it also.
This story of a 19th century girl was originally published in 1869, and still now – nearly 140 years later – Stepping Heavenward is just as appreciated as if it was written for those of the 21st century. In essence, the story is timeless; and it’s one that I highly recommend to all!

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