New Free Read: Louie Chalmers’ New Year’s Table

Christmas may be over, but the spirit of the season continues with this Isabella Alden short story from 1889.

Miss Louie Chalmers just turned eighteen, and she’s ready to throw a party! She wants to impress her friends by serving only the best food and drink; but when she happily embarks upon a lavish shopping spree, an unexpected encounter makes Louie rethink all her party plans.

You can read “Louie Chalmers’ New Year’s Table” for free!

Choose the reading option you like best:

You can read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just click here to download your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.

Or you can select BookFunnel’s “Read on My Computer” option to print the story and share it with friends.

New Free Read: A Long Christmas

Last week’s post was about some of the ways Isabella’s encouraged readers to “remember the poor always, but especially at Christmas.” Our December free read continues that theme.

“A Long Christmas” is a short story Isabella wrote in 1891 about a group of children—all cousins in the same family—who discovered their enjoyment of Christmas lasted much longer when they focused on giving instead of getting.

“We have everything imaginable already. We need Christmas presents less than any young folks in the kingdom, I suppose.” That’s what sixteen year old Holly tells his cousins when they gather together on Christmas morning, and his cousins agree! But which child should receive the cousins’ unwanted toys and books?

Cover of "A Long Christmas" showing a man and dog outside a small cabin, with tall pine trees covered in snow and a mountain peak in the background.

You can read “A Long Christmas” for free!

Choose the reading option you like best:

You can read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just click here to download your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.

Or you can select BookFunnel’s “Read on My Computer” option to print the story and share it with friends.

New Free Reads about the Mackenzies

Isabella’s writing career was launched when her best friend Theodosia Toll Foster entered one of Isabella’s stories in a contest, and it won! (Read more about it here).

Theodosia began her own writing career years later. When she was 34 years old her husband died, leaving her with a toddler son and a second baby on the way. Theodosia had to find a means of supporting her family, and writing provided the answer.

Under her pen name, Faye Huntington, Theodosia co-authored novels with Isabella, and regularly contributed to The Pansy and other Christian magazines.

She also wrote full-length novels, some of which can still be found today, but because the majority of her novels were published as pamphlets in the late 1800s, very few have survived over the years. However …

Two of her most popular books were about the Mackenzie family and you can read both books for free!

Book 1: Mr. Mackenzie’s Answer

When Miss Marvie Anderson first saw Mr. Mackenzie at a prayer meeting, she thought, “What a saintly man!” But after staying in Mr. Mackenzie’s home as the guest of his daughter Delia, Marvie doesn’t know what to think! How can a man who prays with such fervor and devotion be so inconsistent when it comes setting a Christian example in his daily life?

Raised by her minister father, Marvie thought she knew how to lead a Christian life; but as her visit continues, she finds herself succumbing to Mr. Mackenzie’s influence, and leaving her own Christian upbringing behind.

Click here to go to BookFunnel and read Mr. Mackenzie’s Answer. You can download it to your computer, phone, tablet, Kindle or other electronic device. Or choose “Read on My Computer” to print the story as a PDF to read and share with friends.

Book 2: Ripley Parsonage

At Ripley Parsonage, the Reverend Mr. Anderson works earnestly for his flock and for the town, even as he leads the local temperance cause with unfailing devotion. He has seen first-hand the wreck alcohol can make in the lives of his congregation and community; little wonder, then, that his most constant prayer is that the town elders will come to their senses and vote for prohibition.

But Mr. Anderson has other worries, too, especially for his daughter, Marvie. He’s not certain what the future may hold for her and her two best friends: Delia Mackenzie, the society girl who tries so hard to live a Christian life despite her own father’s disapproval; and Tina Stevens, the quiet infidel who was taught at an early age to disbelieve anything related to the Bible.

In this 1877 sequel to Mr. Mackenzie’s Answer, Mr. Anderson’s faith and devotion are brought to a head that will test one of the very foundations of his religion: the sacred communion service.

Click here to go to BookFunnel to download the book in the format you like best.

New Free Read: “Mine”

This month’s Free Read is “Mine,” a novella by Isabella Alden that was first published in an 1895 Christian magazine.

Image of book cover for "Mine."

Esther Field’s minister father is scheduled to speak at a Christian Endeavor convention in the big city, and he plans to take Esther with him! It’s a dream come true for Esther, who longs to mingle with young men and women her age who share her vision of leading others to Christ through service. But there is much more in store for Esther than simply a series of meetings; and when she finally returns home after twenty-four hours in the big city, she knows her life will never be the same again.

You can read “Mine” for free!

Choose the reading option you like best:

You can read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just click here to download your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.

Or you can select BookFunnel’s “Read on My Computer” option to print the story and share it with friends.

A Free Read Announcement!

Who doesn’t love free books? Especially when the free books are Christ-centered stories by Isabella Alden?

Last April we began making changes to IsabellaAlden.com, with new layouts and features that make this site easier to view on different electronic devices.

As of today, the redesign is now complete with a brand new Free Reads page!

All Free Reads have been converted to e-book format, so they can be easily read on your computer, phone or other device. Or, if you prefer, you still have the option to read them as PDF documents.

You can check out all the changes by clicking on the Free Reads tab above, where you’ll find the stories organized by author name.

Be sure to join us next week for a brand new Free Read by Isabella Alden!

New Free Read: Her Opportunity

This month’s Free Read is “Her Opportunity,” a short story Isabella wrote about a young woman who was a member of the Christian Endeavor society.

Miss Emily Mason never passes up an opportunity to do a favor for someone; and if, while doing that favor, she has an opportunity to win a soul for Christ so much the better. But the latest recipient of Emily’s kindness may not be worthy of her efforts—at least, that’s what Emily’s friends say. How can Emily ever hope to know if the testimony she shared made a difference in the young woman’s life?

You can read “Her Opportunity” for free!

Choose the reading option you like best:

You can read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just click here to download your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.

Or you can choose the “Read on My Computer” option on BookFunnel to print the story and share it with friends.

New Free Read: The Forman Family’s Sacrifice

Talk about found treasure! This month’s Free Read is The Forman Family’s Sacrifice, a story Isabella published as a serial in a 1916 magazine.

Although it’s a full-length novel (fifteen chapters in all), The Forman Family’s Sacrifice was never published in book form. Luckily, all those magazine issues survived so we can put the story together and enjoy it today!

Here’s a brief synopsis:

“Aunt Elsie—coming here!”

Isn’t it enough that the Foreman family has fallen on hard times? They already have to count every penny; must they also take in an elderly aunt none of them remember and who is already making demands before she even arrives on their doorstep?

Of course the Formans will make the necessary sacrifices to do their Christian duty by Aunt Elsie, but that doesn’t mean they have to like it. And if Aunt Elsie happens to overhear their grumblings, maybe she’ll get the message and cut her stay short.

But Aunt Elsie overhears more than the family realizes; and she soon discovers a long-held secret she’s been keeping just might be the key to solving the Forman family’s troubles.

You can read The Forman Family’s Sacrifice for free!

Click here to go to BookFunnel.com where you can choose the reading option you like best:

  • You can read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just choose your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.
  • Or you can choose the “My Computer” option to read a PDF version, which you can also print and share with friends.

Free Read: The Opportunity Circle

This month’s free read was written by Isabella’s best friend and frequent co-author, Faye Huntington (whose real name was Theodosia Foster).

“The Opportunity Circle” is the story of Marion Lansing, a young teen whose life is upended when her mother falls ill, and the family physician tells them they must move to Colorado if she is to be cured.

Book cover featuring young woman in gold gown circle 1900. She has a yellow rose tucked into the bodice of her dress and is holding an open book in one hand.

When the story was written in 1901, physicians often prescribed a change of scenery or climate as a cure for common diseases. And although the author doesn’t mention the name of the mother’s ailment in the story, there’s a good chance that she suffered from tuberculosis.

Brief newspaper article titled "The Cold-Air Cure," which claims "Not one death at Denver Sanitarium from Tuberculosis."
From The Topeka Daily Mail, February 13, 1905.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s tuberculosis—known back then as “consumption” or “white death”—was the country’s leading cause of death. There was no vaccine to prevent the disease, nor antibiotics to treat it.

The Glockner Sanitaium in Colorado Springs, about 1910

But physicians did have one course of treatment. They knew that patients who lived in a dry climate with plenty of sunshine seemed to improve. Colorado, with its dry air, high altitude, and sunny skies, was one place where patients found relief and even saw some improvement over the disease.

The sprawling campus of the Agnes Memorial TB Sanitarium in Denver, about 1910.

By the time Faye Huntington wrote “The Opportunity Circle,” Colorado was home to hundreds of sanitariums, spas, and hospitals, all of which catered to tuberculosis patients. But they were pricey, and many TB patients who bought one-way tickets to Colorado didn’t have the money to pay for expensive treatments.

The Oakes Home, a Denver TB sanitarium (about 1907).

Those less affluent patients erected tent cities outside small towns and mining camps, where they rested and spent as many hours as possible in the sun each day.

In Faye’s story, Marion Lansing’s daily two-mile walks to the mining settlement have some basis in fact. While there’s no record that Faye Huntington ever visited a Colorado mining camp or tuberculosis resort, she probably read newspaper accounts of the many patients who flocked to the mile-high state, and might even have known one or two such patients herself.

You can read “The Opportunity Circle” for free!

Click here to go to BookFunnel.com where you can choose the reading option you like best:

  • You can read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just choose your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.
  • Or you can choose the “My Computer” option to read a PDF version, which you can also print and share with friends.

New Free Read: “Scattered Verses”

This month’s Free Read is “Scattered Verses,” a short story Isabella Alden wrote in 1892.

In “Scattered Verses” Isabella illustrates the sacrifices mothers often make for their families, which makes this a perfect story for Mothers’ Day! Here’s a brief description:

“Such a chance! I never had any such chances, you know. They didn’t study the Bible much when I was a girl, not in this way!”

So says Mrs. Halstead when she, her husband and daughter, take a cottage for the summer at a famous Sunday-school assembly. But those Bible classes, as precious as they are, occupy a good deal of time—time she used to spend caring for her family; and while she may be learning a lot about Paul’s letters to the early churches, her little rented cottage is in chaos from kitchen to bedroom! Before long Mrs. Halstead is faced with a difficult decision: should her devotion to studying the Bible be stronger than her devotion to her family?

You can read “Scattered Verses” for free!

Click here or on the book cover above and choose the reading option you like best:

  • You can read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just choose your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.
  • Or you can choose the “My Computer” option to read a PDF version, which you can also print and share with friends.

New Free Read! Harold Payne’s Easter

Isabella’s friend Theodosia Toll Foster was widely published as a novelist and short-story writer. Under the pen name “Faye Huntington” she wrote for the sole purpose of winning souls for Christ. Her story, “Harold Payne’s Easter” was published in the April 1909 issue of a Christian magazine. 

Easy-going, self-indulgent Harold Payne never took church or anything else in life too seriously. But one day, while day-dreaming his way through a sermon, something the minister said caught his attention: “May our religion put the stamp of Christ upon the things we do.”

For some reason, those words broke through Harold’s indifference and stuck in his thoughts—and left him with the realization he had, at most, only made a faint impression of Christ’s stamp upon the world. Was it too late for Harold to change his ways?

You can read “Harold Payne’s Easter” for free!

Choose the reading option you like best:

You can read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just click here to download your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.

Or you can choose the “Read on My Computer” option to print the story and share it with friends.