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The Lamplighter Review by Nancy Mayes

Maria S. Cummins
Lamplighter Publishing
Lamplighter Ministries International

The Lamplighter is a 242 page novel written by Maria S. Cummins in 1854. It is a beautifully written story of a girl that suffers tremendous hardship early in life, leaving her struggling with raging emotions. As a young child, Gertrude, Gerty for short, is taken in by the lamplighter where she, for the first time, experiences the beauty of love.

As Gerty grows and matures into a young lady, she finds herself continually confronted by her emotions. Her sweet and nurturing friend – or more of a mentor – Emily, helps Gerty to not only face her intense emotions but to develop self-control and master them before they master her. Gertrude, seeking the help of her Heavenly Father, not only gains control of her emotions, but goes a step further and uses her gift from God, the gift of servanthood. She devotes her life to serving those around her, including the woman whose hand she suffered abuse from as a young child.

This story is a tremendous story that weaves together a beautiful tapestry of God's mercy and redemption. It took us nearly a month to read this story as a family during our read aloud time. Written in 1854, the language is of the day and more advanced than we are used to reading. At times it seemed a little above our kids' understanding but at the same time it was refreshing, allowing for a more realistic experience of the time period, a time when language was purposeful and eloquent.

Our children (ages 6, 8 and 11) have found themselves walking in Gerty's shoes, expressing many empathetic emotions throughout this story. They have experienced feelings of sorrow as they were sad for and with her, felt elated at her blessings, and longed with her as she clung to her hopes of the return of Willie – her love. The greatest blessing of this story, by far, was witnessing my young daughters talk about gaining self-control over their own emotions. I appreciate the timelessness of this story and the influence it has had in enabling my children have to make a connection to their own lives.

The Lamplighter is a part of the Rare Collector Series published by Lamplighter Publishing and retails for $25. The suggested age range for this book is 12-99 and although some content is a bit above our children, we feel that our children have not only been able to understand the nature of this story but they have also benefited from it. I am not sure that the younger two could have read the story comfortably themselves, but as a read aloud, it has been an outstanding experience for us all.

This timeless book has made it into our home library of treasured works.

-Product review by Nancy Mayes, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April, 2017