Enjoy reading these free novels and short stories. Click on a cover to begin reading.
When Helen and Winnie set out for an overnight visit with a beloved aunt, they anticipate a fun time and a safe journey. But it only takes one wrong turn to change their fun to fright, and one act of kindness to teach them a valuable lesson.
It’s the Fourth of July and young Davie Carson wants to attend all the celebrations. He also plans to apply for a coveted job opening at the local book store. But no sooner does Davie arrive in town, than his plans begin to go terribly wrong; and Davie begins to wonder if he has missed the greatest opportunity of his young life.
When Miss Esther Harlowe decides to visit the residents of a nearby Old Ladies’ Home, she only wants to bring a little bit of cheer to the residents’ lives. But when she meets Katherine Lyman, she feels a instant bond with the elderly Christian woman. Soon, Esther looks forward to their visits just as much Katherine does, and Esther quickly discovers her life will never be the same again!
Young Claribel begins her Easter morning wanting to commemorate Christ’s resurrection by offering her most beautiful possession to the church. But a friend in need may cause Claribel to stray from her purpose.
On a snowy afternoon, three school friends pass the time by making up stories. For two of the girls, the stories are simply fun diversions; but for Sarah Brewster, one of their stories strikes a little too chose to home.
On Which Side Were They?
For the most recent meeting of the Junior Christian Endeavor Society, Miss Williams crafted her lesson with care. Her goal: to make certain every Society member has chosen Jesus to be their friend and guide. Imagine her surprise and disappointment when one young member of the society refuses to make a commitment to Christ! Miss Williams is determined to get to the bottom of the matter, but even she is surprised to learn there are other forces at work among the Junior Endeavorers.
Isabella Alden wrote this short story in 1893 when she was deeply involved in the Christian Endeavor movement.
When Mr. Porter hires Stephen Turner to work as a delivery boy in his store, he doesn’t have high hopes for the boy’s success. All he can see are Stephen’s ragged clothes and sad expression. But it isn’t long before Mr. Porter and his wife learn their first impressions were mistaken. And when they see their darling baby daughter fall immediately in love with Stephen, they welcome him into their home. But not all good fortune lasts forever; and when tragedy threatens the Porters, it’s up to Stephen to help them in any way they can.
In the “Season of Giving” Miss Rachel Whitaker is no stranger to charitable causes. She’s a good Christian woman who faithfully donates to her church and mission boards, like her parents did before her. But when she is confronted by someone in need on her own doorstep, will she answer the call?
Written in the first person narrative (Could this be a true story from Isabella’s life?), the story is about Miss Smith, a new Sunday-school teacher who finds herself drawn to one of her pupils. Little Mary Burton is fair-haired and blue-eyed, but it is her expression of Godly contentment that first catches Miss Smith’s eye.
Soon Mary Burton experiences troubles in her life. Will Miss Smith be able to help her to regain her contented spirit?
A Journey of Discovery
Louise Hasbrouck knows what everyone expects of her. She just received an offer of marriage from Halsey Carstairs, one of the city’s most eligible bachelors. Louise should feel honored and happy; instead she feels restless and anxious to talk to her old friend, Cecilia, who became a bride herself just two years before.
But when Louise arrives at Cecilia’s sweet little cottage in the country, and sees the life she leads away from the city’s whirling social scene, Louise begins to question the path society has plotted for her. Should Louise accept Halsey’s proposal, or will she find the strength to follow her heart?
There’s nothing her grandchildren love more than to gather around Grandma Burton in the evening and listen to her stories about the miracles God performed in her life. It’s a special time of learning and loving, as Grandma Burton shares cherished memories and Bible verses that prove God’s love and care.
Choker and Old Stuffy
Tom Benton and Dick Graves are struggling medical students. They’re so poor they have to take turns wrapping up in a ragged old comforter just to stay warm during the cold winter months! But a chance invitation from an unexpected source will soon change their lives forever.
Experience has taught Angela that even the simplest mistake can have dire consequences. It’s no wonder, then, that she doesn’t want to admit breaking a prized dish while working in the kitchen of Mrs. Parker’s very nice home.
Angela is tempted to hide the evidence of her crime to escape punishment, but her conscience demands she tell the truth. No matter which path she chooses, Angela is certain she will end up a very unhappy girl!
This story by Isabella Alden first appeared in an 1895 issue of The Pansy magazine.
Helen the Historian
Helen may be only eight years old, but she knows all about God’s love. She’s happiest on Sunday mornings when her young friends gather about her and listen to the Bible stories she tells. And maybe—if she tells the stories well enough—those Bible stories will make a difference in lives of her young friends, too.
The Doctor’s Story
Dr. Mentor believes every good Christian can and should find work to do in the Lord’s House; it’s just a matter of finding the right niche for each person. The question is, can they find the right niche for Frank Horton?
The Harrisville Young Ladies’ Band
In this 1881 story, Miss Fannie Archer is president of a young ladies’ missionary band that is rapidly failing. At their last meeting, only three ladies showed up, and they were only there because they were officers of the club! No one, it seems, in her entire town is interested in supporting missionaries who do God’s work in far-off corners of the world. But Fannie is; and she’s desperate to bring some life—and some new members—into the ladies’ band. But how?
It isn’t until she confides in her cousin that Fannie realizes her approach to organizing a missionary support group has been wrong from the start. But with a few suggestions from her cousin, some hard work, and a good amount of devoted prayer, Fannie just may be able to make the club a success, after all.
A Test Case
Young Cora Perkins is about to have her greatest dream come true, thanks to her Aunt Patty. Cora will spend an entire year in Boston, studying music, and Aunt Patty will foot the bill! Cora couldn’t be happier, and she quickly makes friends at her new school.
But while Cora learns how to make beautiful music, she also learns some unfortunate lessons from her classmates; lessons that could hurt the people she loves most.
Gertrude Morrison and her friends have a special relationship with their pastor, Mr. Neale; so when he gives each girl a journal, asking that they write in them every day, Gertrude is happy to oblige. There’s just one catch: Gertrude and her friends must fill their journals’ pages with descriptions of how their daily actions measure up against the Bible’s Golden Texts.
It doesn’t take long for Gertrude to realize Mr. Neale’s assignment may prove harder to follow than she first thought, as Gertrude’s journal entries reveal the thoughtlessness of her actions toward others.
When Miss Florence Percival comes upon a kitten in the snow, she soon learns the kitten belongs to a girl named Hetty. It doesn’t take long for Florence to realize that Hetty is patiently bearing quite a few burdens. Poor Hetty lives with her very cross Aunt Jane who can’t say a kind word; and Hetty’s injured knee prevents Hetty from taking even a single step.
With Thanksgiving only days away Florence Percival wants to make a difference in Hetty’s life. And in the process, she just might be able to soften Aunt Jane, and find a cure for Hetty’s knee.
He is to have his wish, but not in the way he anticipates, for there’s mischief afoot in the congregation. Some members of the church hear his words and brush them off, certain the good Reverend couldn’t possibly have been talking to them; but one church member, with a touch of guilt in her heart, takes exception to Dr. Selmer’s sermon. Soon she enacts a little revenge on the minister, never dreaming her actions will threaten to tear the church apart.
This short story was written by Isabella’s sister Marcia Livingston.
Mrs. Dunlap’s Commentary
Mrs. Dunlap is a model wife, mother, and homemaker. She’s the perfect hostess when guests enter her home, and out of the goodness of her heart she has taken a poor neighbor girl under her wing. Why, Mrs. Dunlap even teaches a Sunday-school class and remembers to keep the Sabbath holy!
Given such stellar qualities, Mrs. Dunlap must surely be a model Christian; but one unusually trying Monday begins to reveal the truth of Mrs. Dunlap’s character.
What She Could
New teacher Alice Merwyn may be young and inexperienced, but she wants to make a difference in the lives of her young students. But influencing children for good will mean sacrifice on her part. Is she up for the challenge?
Young Jennie couldn’t be happier with the new life she has made for herself in the city; but when trouble occurs at work, it’s only natural that she—as the newest employee—would be accused of the deed. Will Jennie’s reputation for honesty and doing the right thing be enough to defend her?
Beginning at Jerusalem
In this short story by Isabella’s niece Grace Livingston Hill, Ransom Warder and his sister Ruth dream of being missionaries. They’re ready to go out in the world to do some good; but when they meet a stranger in need of help, Ransom and Ruth discover that there may be plenty of mission work to be done in their very own neighborhood.
The Exact Truth
The Bible is full of golden texts of inspiration and maxims of sound doctrine, but Zephene Hammond thinks they’re just words on a page. Although she considers herself a Christian, she doesn’t think those Bible verses have any real meaning in her life. So when her Sunday school teacher challenges Zephene to look at the golden texts with fresh eyes, Zephene reluctantly takes up the challenge. Before long, Zeph sees that the Bible really can fit into her daily life and help her become a girl who always tells the exact truth.
A Modern Sacrifice
Kissie Gordon knows all too well how easy it is to succumb to the ways of the world. The daughter of a minister, Kissie was raised to work for Jesus, not dance all night. But after her father’s death, Kissie and her mother move to the city, where the lure of having nice clothes and attending parties quickly become Kissie’s driving ambition … until one fateful evening when she learns a valuable lesson about the life she’s chosen to live.
Suddenly, Kissie realizes how close she almost came to ruin, and how right her parents had been to teach her to stay away from dancing, gambling, and extravagance. Kissie saved herself … now can she save her friends, too?
Mrs. Harry Harper’s Awakening
Newly married Mrs. Harry Harper isn’t happy at all. She’s living in a new town where she knows no one, and she desperately misses her mother. Worse, she has no friends nearby, and no purpose with which to fill her days while her husband is at work. But a chance meeting with a group of women turns her life upside down, when she’s mistaken for a member of their club. God does work in mysterious ways as the women’s meeting awakens Mrs. Harry Harper’s spirit in a way that fills her lonely life with purpose.
Pictures from Mrs. Pierson’s Life
Mrs. Pierson considers herself a good Christian; she attends church regularly, and her husband makes an annual contribution to the church’s Foreign Mission fund. Isn’t that enough? Her days are filled with social functions and trips to the dressmaker’s; how can she possibly find time to do all the things the ladies at church expect of her?
Fred & Maria & Me
Elderly “Aunt Avery” loves her nephew Fred to distraction. Whenever Fred is in need, Aunt Avery generously comes to his aid … even if it means she must go without. But when Aunt Avery makes the ultimate sacrifice and gives up her home in order to send Fred money, her neighbors decide to take action—and they hatch a plan to reveal to Aunt Avery the truth about her nephew Fred. This short novel was a favorite of Isabella Alden’s; she even incorporated a mention of the novel in her book, Links in Rebecca’s Life.
In the Promised Land
Isabella Alden’s son Raymond was a published writer, too. In 1905 his short story “In the Promised Land” won third prize in a national writing contest sponsored by Collier’s Weekly magazine. Click here to read “In the Promised Land.”
Hazel Cunningham’s Denial
Hazel Cunningham’s summer vacation at a fashionable resort is a dream come true. With new friends, golf games and other fun activities, she’s busy from morning till night; and she soon realizes her busy schedule has no room for Sunday church services and daily Bible readings. Hazel knows she’s gone astray, but she can’t quite find the strength to resist the pressure from her new, fun-loving friends … until God sends an example who can show Hazel the way. This short story was written by Isabella Alden’s niece, Grace Livingston Hill. Click here to read a blog post about Isabella, her sister, Marcia, and Marcia’s daughter Grace Livingston Hill.
When I was a Girl
An event from Isabella Alden’s childhood inspired this short story. After a young student wins a prestigious prize, rumors of cheating quickly spread through the school. Who could be so jealous as to start such a horrible rumor? And how can the student ever hope to clear her good name?
Click here to read a blog post about the incident that inspired Isabella’s story.
It’s graduation day at Madame Nordhoff’s exclusive academy for young ladies, where four students—Gertrude, Eunice, Barbara and Bernice—prepare to go their separate ways. Best friends, they vow to stay in touch and reunite at each others’ weddings; but their plans are soon tested as they each return home to unexpected trials. And for one of the young women—whose future once appeared the brightest—a new romance may endanger her very soul. Can her friends unite in time to help her rediscover her life’s purpose and her faith in God?
Click here to read the blog post about why Mara was Isabella’s Alden’s most controversial book.
It’s a special day for the Lester family—eldest son Cleveland is finally returning home after a seven year absence. While everyone else is happy that Cleveland will again be part of the family, young Helen isn’t happy at all. She remembers her brother as a wayward young man who smoked and drank too much, and made her life miserable with his relentless teasing.
But Cleveland has changed; and he wants to share the reason for his transformation with the people he loves the most. Soon, Helen is undergoing a transformation of her own, as she slowly learns to trust Cleveland, and opens her heart to the message of salvation he is eager to share.
You can read more about Helen Lester, and how it came to be published; just click here.
Memory’s Picture Gallery
A young couple learn the joys and heartaches of true love, devotion and abiding faith in this charming short story by Isabella Alden.
Sidney Martin’s Christmas
Here’s a charming Christmas short story from 1897, written for boys and girls of all ages. For the first time in his young life, Sidney Martin must spend Christmas alone in the big city. How he wishes he could see his family and share in their spirit of Christmas! Instead, he must spend the long day alone, doing nothing in particular and mattering to no one. But an odd circumstance may help Sidney realize that the spirit of Christmas is alive in his heart, after all.
Agatha’s Unknown Way
Agatha Hunter is a determined young lady. She’s willing to brave the dangers of the big city in order to realize her dream of attending a church missionary meeting. Imagine meeting other women with the same blessed zeal, the same divine calling to further Christ’s work in foreign lands! Why, a big, splendid church in town must have hundreds of women working together for the Lord’s cause, and Agatha is certain she will find kindred sprits there.
But Agatha’s resolve is soon put to the test as the missionary meeting falls far short of her expectations; and instead of being kindred spirits, the ladies of the missionary society would rather talk about housekeeping than evangelism. Can Agatha plant a seed for Christ in the hearts of these city people?
My Daughter Susan
If Miss Susan Carleton has one overriding ambition in her life, it is to one day hear the King say: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’ She won’t be content with anything less than the commendation God promised to those who faithfully serve Him.
And serve she does, filling one single day with more testimony and more kind Christian acts than most people accomplish in a lifetime. With so many lives to be helped and souls to be won, Susan draws energy and inspiration from God’s promise, “Inasmuch as ye did it unto the least of these, my brethren, ye did it unto me.”
Spun from Fact
New Christian Jeanie Barrett is certain she can do good works for the Lord; but soon after she embraces salvation, Jeanie suffers one great loss after another. Is God testing Jeanie’s new-found faith? Or is He leading her to a life of ministry more glorious than she ever imagined?
Miss Priscilla Hunter
Miss Priscilla Hunter’s church is in desperate need of repairs, but the congregation is desperate to delay the cost. No one is willing to contribute a penny toward the work that must be done . . . until Priscilla Hunter takes matters into her own hands. She’s determined to raise the funds needed to make God’s house a model place for everyone to worship the Lord.
People Who Haven’t Time & Can’t Afford It
Mrs. Leymon’s eyes have been opened. In her lovely home town there are actually mothers and children who live in deplorable conditions! She wants to make a difference in the lives of those poor souls and she wants the ladies at church to help. She never dreamed the women in her congregation would refuse such a worthy cause, but Mrs Leymon won’t give up. She has only to convince one person to contribute time to her cause and she knows the rest of the ladies will follow.
What She Said & What She Meant
There’s gossip in the air and reputations are being lost. Even the town’s beloved doctor isn’t safe from the hateful rumors. As one person after another discovers the pain of being shunned for something they didn’t do, one member of the congregation decides to take a stand. She’s determined to get to the bottom of the horrid stories and put an end to them once and for all.