Friday, January 4, 2013

Book Review - The King's Daughter

"The King's Daughter" by Pansy (Isabella MacDonald Alden)

When Dell's mother died, she was raised by her uncle and aunt in Boston in a strong Christian and temperance home.  After years away from home, she's called back to help her father with the housework.  Her father runs a hotel and saloon in a run down, dreary town.  Even though Dell is the daughter of a liquor seller, she works incessantly for the temperance movement.  This book is the story or her work, her setbacks and discouragement, and ultimately her faith that brought her though it all.  It's a great story and wonderful encouragement if you're dealing with very challenging circumstances that don't seem to change.  However it ends feeling unfinished and you're told that the story continues in another book.  After digging around a little, I believe the semi-sequel is called "Wise and Otherwise".  (which, if you've read more of Pansy's books, is also the sequel to the book "Julia Reid")  That being said - there's a major concern with the book.

This book focuses on the temperance movement.  However, it goes beyond a strong stance on temperance to being very legalistic about it.  A large part of the movement revolved around signing the total abstinence pledge.  It was made to seem almost as a judgement of your salvation as to whether you signed it or not.  This is concerning because your salvation doesn't rest on whether you sign a pledge or drink or not.  And your salvation isn't dependent on whether or not you become drunk afterwards.  The author often seemed to view drinking of alcohol and drunkenness as the same thing.  This isn't an accurate or biblical perspective as the Bible doesn't condemn all drinking.  There was a lot of judgmentalism coming from Dell concerning her strong temperance views, and also some less than gracious attitudes at times.  She was very passionate about her beliefs - a very admirable quality - however it can be very uncomfortable when you see it used for something extra-biblical and legalistic.  I have a personal commitment to not drink alcohol so I appreciate aspects of the temperance movement and I generally think it's a wise thing to follow.  I was just disappointed and uncomfortable to see the undue emphasis that was placed upon it in this book.  It's still a good book - I would definitely say it's worth reading if you can look beyond the legalism.  But if it's your first time to read a Pansy book, I'd recommend starting elsewhere.  My personal favorite is "Four Girls at Chautauqua".