In 1912 Isabella Alden published her novel The Long Way Home. She was 71 years old at the time.
She had begun a trend about ten years before of writing books directed toward adult readers. It began with Mara, her most controversial novel. Mara (published in 1902) was about a young woman who inadvertently married a man who practiced polygamy.
Unto the End told the story of a young wife’s dilemma when she discovered her husband’s infidelity; it was published the same year.
For several years thereafter Isabella regularly published new novels with her adult readers in mind:
1904 – Doris Farrand’s Vocation
1905 – David Ransom’s Watch
1906 – Ester Ried’s Namesake
1907 – Ruth Erskine’s Son
1908 – The Browns at Mount Hermon
1911 – Lost on the Trail
In each book, Isabella tackled important and emotional topics. She wrote about young women who wanted to be judged on their own merits, instead of on their wealth and social standing (or lack thereof).
She also wrote about women who sought real purpose in their lives by working to make a difference in the world in Jesus’ name.
She even wrote about one woman’s struggle to love an unlovable daughter-in-law (in Ruth Erskine’s Son).
Isabella continued that trend with The Long Way Home. The story is about Andy and Ilsa, a young couple in love, and their impetuous decision to marry. They exchange marriage vows on the very day Ilsa graduates from high school!
It isn’t long before their hasty decision—combined with a selfish streak in one and a lack of understanding in the other—begins to lead Andy and Ilsa down a path that may undermine their marriage vows.
In her adult books Isabella often wrote about the strain and unhappiness that results when a husband and wife do not share the same religious views, and she explores that premise in this story.
In The Long Way Home, Andy is given many opportunities to choose to follow Jesus Christ, but each time he takes a different path because his eagerness to please Ilsa overrides the callings of his own conscience.
Ultimately, the very fact that Andy and Ilsa failed to place God at the center of their union turns out to be one of the great wedges that threatens to drive them apart.
As the title suggests, Isabella finally brings her characters “home” and they have their happily ever, but only after Andy and Ilsa learn to put their trust in God before each other.
The Long Way Home is now available as an e-book for only 99 cents! You can find it at these bookseller sites:
You can learn more about Isabella’s books mentioned in this post by visiting her Books page.