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Book Review

This second historical fiction book in the " A Life of Faith: Elsie Dinsmore" series based on the best-selling classic by Martha Finley is published by Zonderkidz.

Elsie's Impossible Choice is written for kids ages 10 to 14. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Elsie Dinsmore, a gentle 9-year-old, lives on her grandfather's plantation during the height of Southern affluence in the 1840s. She has recently been reunited with her father, Horace, who left Elsie in the care of nursemaids after the tragic death of his wife. Elsie loves her father but longs for him to experience the love of Jesus. Horace has good intentions but little understanding. He demands that Elsie submit to his authority, even above that of God. The resulting conflict endangers Elsie's life as she struggles to maintain her faith in God within an unfriendly household. In the end, her father accepts Jesus as Savior, which brings Elsie much joy.

Christian Beliefs

Elsie's pure faith and obedience to God are unshakable. Her aunts talk about their growing faith in God due to Elsie's witness. In the end, Horace submits his life to Jesus.

Other Belief Systems


Authority Roles

Horace has a distorted view of his authority over his daughter. He has good intentions, but cannot understand how God has ultimate authority over his daughter's life.





Discussion Topics

If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics :

How did Miss Stevens tempt Elsie to compromise her obedience to God in small ways?
* How did her father tempt her to compromise her faith in large ways?
* How did Elsie demonstrate her faithfulness to God in small ways?
* What does God's Word say will be the reward for faithfulness?
* What has tempted you to turn away from God?
* What are some ways you can remain strong in your faith, no matter the temptation?

What motivates Elsie to obey God?
* Is she right in obeying God over obeying her father?
* How does Horace try to obtain Elsie's obedience?
* Is this appropriate?
* What does the Bible say about submitting to authority?
* Have you ever been in a situation where you had to choose between earthly and heavenly authority?
* What did you choose? What were the consequences?
* Can you think of a time when you should obey and earthly authority over God's commands?

How did God use the negative circumstances in Horace's life for good?
* Why do you think God allowed Elsie to go through such pain?
* What does this tell you about God's desire to save Horace?
* Have you ever been through a difficult experience that God used for good?
* How can you maintain a positive attitude when things aren't just?
* How will you remember God's blessings, even when you are in an unfair situation?

Additional Comments/Notes

Book reviews cover the content, themes and world-views of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

10 to 14


Martha Finley






Record Label



ZonderKidz, a division of Zondervan.


On Video

Year Published




We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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