I’d like to thank Christian Focus Publications for giving me a copy of Frances Ridley Havergal by Lucille Travis in return for my honest review.
Frances Ridley Havergal: The Girl Who Loved Mountains by Lucille Travis (Christian Focus 4 Kids, 2014) is a new addition to the 48-book Trailblazers series. Our family loves these narrative Christian biographies for children ages 8-14.
While many of the people written about in the Trailblazers series lived historically pivotal lives of outsized faith, Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879) lived a quiet life. She was a poet, hymnist and children’s author with an affinity for sharing the gospel. Though Havergal struggled with the gospel as a child, once committed to Christ, she spent her life telling others about her Savior…..
Frances Ridley Havergal lost her mother at an early age, then contracted a terrible skin disease. She lived, but spent the remainder of her life plagued with poor health, fevers, and serious bouts of illness. She never married, but spent time with her sisters and their families, traveled to the mountains in Switzerland a number of times, and wrote. Much of her work was published after her death at the age of 42.
Frances was convinced of God’s sovereign hand on her life, and she felt her illness was no surprise to Him. Lucille Travis does a wonderful job conveying this truth in the book. Though Frances was frustrated by the need to rest (both to avoid acute illness and in the face of her frequent illness), she saw God’s hand even in this. She submitted to him in illness and in health. I found that inspiring. When healthy, she persisted in working for the Lord, though it would likely have been easier to resign herself to an inactive life. I also found her cheerful evangelism and loving care of all she met inspiring. I personally was touched by the story.
Frances Ridley Havergal is a wonderful story of a young lady committed to serving God with the gifts He gave her, in the strength He provided. It’s a worthwhile addition to the Trailblazers line.
I found a nice version of one of Havergal’s best known hymns Take My Life and Let It Be:
- The 19th Century
- Perseverance in Illness and Suffering
- Writing as a Vocation
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You can find Frances Ridley Havergal: The Girl Who Loved Mountains and the other biographies in the Trailblazers biography series for 8-14 year olds at
- Frances Ridley Havergal: The Girl Who Loved Mountains (Trailblazers)
- Christian Focus Trailblazers Series
Other Christian Focus Trail Blazer & Torchbearer books reviewed on Thinking Kids
- Hannah More: The Woman Who Wouldn’t Stop Writing
- Robert Moffat: Africa’s Brave Heart
- Brother Andrew: Behind Enemy Lines
- Fanny Crosby: The Blind Girl’s Song
- Nate Saint: Operation Auca
- John Knox: The Sharpened Sword
- Michael Faraday: Spiritual Dynamo
- Mary of Orange: At the Mercy of Kings
- John Stott: The Humble Leader
- Titanic The Ship of Dreams: John Harper
More Books for 8-12 Year Olds Reviewed at Thinking Kids
- History Lives Christian History Series by Brandon & Mindy Withrow
- Guarding the Treasure: How God’s People Preserve God’s Word by Linda Finlayson
- Tough Questions About the Bible by Joel R. Beeke
- The New Astronomy Book by Danny R. Faulkner
- God’s Special Tent: The Story of the Tabernacle and What Came After by Jean Stapleton
Thinking Kids Book Review Indexes
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- Christian Books for Preschoolers
- Christian Books for 4-7 Year Olds
- Christian Books for the Middle Grades
- Christian Books for Middle School
- Christian Books for High School
- Christian Books for Kids’ Devotions
- Christian Books about Parenting
~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.