Ester Ried

by Isabella Alden
214 pages, General Fiction
Reviewed by niennasiblings

Excellent, convicting, inspiring read with some problems in the writing style.


Note: Authoress Isabella Alden wrote under the name of "Pansy."

Ester Ried is the extremely useful eldest daughter of a widowed boarding home keeper. Her days are busy, hectic and hard. She works all day long and often feels stressed, overtaxed, and under-rested. But despite her useful hands and feet, her heart and tongue are hurtful and cross. She hates her life and envies her siblings and her boarders, often wishing that she could have at least one hour or one day of rest, free from the stress and confinement of her daily life. God works things out to give her that wish and catapult her into a spiritual journey that will change her perspective forever.


Very high. Good, upright, godly conduct is valued and encouraged strongly, and none of the characters do anything shockingly bad.

Spiritual Content

This book is strongly Christian. The theme of the book is following Christ with all you have and in everything you do.


Mr. Foster (a main character) talks about a young girl he knows who was thrown from the top of a long flight of stairs by an enraged drunk man. Mr. Foster says that the man must answer for the girl's "sad life and death." Later you hear of her funeral.

A main character rescues a woman from a drunk driver's carriage and is killed. The story is told afterward by an eyewitness, but without much detail (only much grief and shock).

Drug and Alcohol Content

There are two off-the-scene accidents involving drunks. The stories of those accidents are told briefly and without too much description by a character in the story. A few main characters drink wine; however, the authoress strongly condemns the drinking of it later in the story, and after the aforementioned accidents one character proclaims vehemently that he will "never touch the stuff again."

Sexual Content

In an attempt to counsel his gullible young friend, Dr. Van Anden takes her hand and asks if he may put his arm around her. She refuses, horrified by the idea, and he points out that that is what she is letting other men do when they dance with her.

A couple of characters are engaged and a large part of the story revolves around one of their weddings, but there are no hugs, kisses, hints, or comments about anything in the sexual direction.

Crude or Profane Language or Content



The events in the book ring of truth, seeming very realistic. Each character is distinct and different from the others, yet so real and believable that I found myself liking some and having personality clashes with others. Ms. Alden's strong point seems to be connecting with the mind of a struggling Christian. I felt myself connecting with Ester's fears, doubts, excuses and temptations. And yet, I know too the same joy that she felt as she found her Savior, as she rejoiced in her hope, and as she won each victory. It was wonderful to feel a "heart connection" with her and think "yes! I've experienced that too!"

However, the author clearly never heard of the rules of "show, don't tell" and "trust your reader to be intuitive." She spells things out, sometimes too plainly so that one is pulled out of the story momentarily. Readers may or may not find this annoying, and may actually enjoy getting a feel for the mind of the author as well as the characters.

Fun Score: 4
Values Score: 5
Written for Age: 13+

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