January’s free read is Gertrude’s Diary, a novella first published in 1885.
Isabella wrote the book in the “diary style” she often used. In the story, twelve-year-old Gertrude and her friends are given a set of Bible verses for each month of the year, along with journals in which the girls are to record their experiences as they try to live by the verses.
Isabella often incorporated her own life experiences into her stories (see last week’s post for an example) and Gertrude’s Diary is no exception. Isabella was very candid about the fact that she had a temper that often got her in trouble when she was young. It isn’t hard to imagine as you read Gertrude’s Diary that some of Gertrude’s temper-induced predicaments might be based on episodes in Isabella’s own life.
In the final chapter of the book Isabella gives a very real nod to one of her favorite places on earth when she reveals that Gertrude’s home town is called Locust Shade.
Locust Shade was a place Isabella knew well; in “real life” it was the name of the Toll family farm in Verona, New York. Isabella’s best friend Theodosia Toll Foster was raised at Locust Shade and Isabella spent many wonderful weekends and school vacations at Locust Shade with Theodosia and her family. You can read more about their friendship and Locust Shade here.
Gertrude’s Diary is available to read for free. Just click on the cover to begin reading.
4 thoughts on “Locust Shade … and a New Free Read!”
Yay! I was hoping there would be another story that I hadn’t read soon. And lo and behold, here it is! 😀
Glad to know we’re thinking alike, Rebekah. Enjoy the story! —Jenny
So, here’s what I love so much about these little tales that are attached to “Golden Verses” (and BTW, where can I get one of these booklets that have these Golden Verses in them? Were they distributed in Sunday Schools as part of the materials?)…I love that while they are written for children, they are SO applicable in MY life! I always find that at least one (and usually more) of the verses are taking dead aim at my circumstances and attitudes. Love how the Holy Spirit flows through time and space and honors the work of Isabella’s pen in the here and now, don’t you?
I completely agree, Karen. Isabella may have written this story for children, but they still manage to make me think (and re-think) my own actions. In next week’s post I’ll show some examples of the Golden Verses literature that helped inspired Gertrude’s Diary. —Jenny