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Rosa of Linden Castle Review by Carol Emmert

Christoph von Schmid
Lamplighter Publishing
23 State Street
Mount Morris, NY 14510

Rosa of Linden Castle, originally written by Christoph von Schmid in 1845, and re-printed by Lamplighter Publishing beginning in 2000 is recommended for ages 9-14. This tale follows Rosa beginning with her early years, growing up in Linden Castle with her Father, the brave knight Edelbert, and her virtuous and humble mother Matilda. The story continues until Rosa is about 15 years old. It uses both the difficulties she incurs, and the blessings she receives, to teach the character traits of sacrificial love, obedience, and enduring trials.

The story starts during Rosa’s young life, when her father is often away fighting alongside the Duke of Swabia, and her upbringing and training are the chief responsibility of her mother. Matilda sets Rosa a good example of being industrious and kind to the poor and needy. Rosa learns to love and obey both her parents and her Savior.

Tragedy strikes when Rosa is about 14 as her mother takes ill and quickly dies. Her father rushes home from battle in time that the family has one last parting scene where Matilda reminds them both to love one another, and remember their Savior. Not too many months later, Edelbert’s arm is severely injured in battle, and he returns to Linden Castle to recuperate. Before he is fully healed, his fighting men are recalled to battle, even thoughEdelbert cannot yet join them, and Linden castle is left with meager protection. In swoops Kunerick, the self-centered knight of neighboring Forest castle. He storms Linden castle, imprisons Edelbert for his perceived past wrongs against Kunerick, and overtakes those left behind in order to claim Linden castle as his own. Rosa runs out of the castle gate pleading with Kunerick for her father and too late realizes she is locked out of the castle and any help she might find from their faithful servants. With no other options to pursue she remembers her father’s admonition to seek out his faithful friend, Burkhard the collier.

After a long trek to locate their hidden valley, Rosa is welcomed into the family of Burkhard, his wife, and daughter. As she adapts to life in their humble home, concern for her father’s well-being is always foremost in her mind. Rosa devises a plan to try and gain employment at Kunerick’s Forest castle to learn of her father’s fate. Burkhard’s family helps her fashion a disguise, and his daughter accompanies Rosa most of the way on the long trek to try to gain employment. As Rosa’s friend waits in the edge of the forest, Rosa manages to gain employment as the servant of the Steward’s ill-tempered wife.

Will Rosa be able to shoulder the great responsibilities and hard toil her new position requires? Will her humble service win over her ill-tempered Mistress? Can Rosa keep her identity a secret and learn of her Father’s fate? Can the Savior who softened Rosa’s heart overcome the hardness of Kunerick’s heart? All of these questions and more are answered as the reader continues along Rosa’s journey. Rosa of Linden Castle would make an excellent read-aloud for family time, or a solid choice for those 12 and up to read independently. Because of the time when the work was originally published, readers may want to have a dictionary, or dictionary app, handy to look up unfamiliar terms. An example is Burkhard the Collier. in the 1800’s, a collier was someone who carried, manufactured, or sold coal. Today the definition of collier is a coal miner.

Although this book at first may appear long for the recommended ages of 9-14 at 253 pages, the story keeps a brisk pace, making it a satisfying read. At approximately 5”x7”, this hardback book with imprinted cover can take its place alongside other quality literature for children on your shelf, or be easily tucked in a purse or backpack for reading on the go. It currently retails from Lamplighter Publishing for $20. Older teens who read Rosa of Linden Castle may find the character of Rosa a bit too goody-two-shoes, and yet, she is held up as an ideal of how we should learn, be chastened, and grow in our following of the Savior. Perhaps it was common at the time the book was first written, but I found it a bit unusual that the words Jesus or Christ are never mentioned, only God and Savior. It does, however, keep to Lamplighter’s goal of promoting a Christian Worldview.

Overall, both Arlene, aged 16, and I enjoyed reading Rosa of Linden Castle. It will take a space on our shelf alongside other Lamplighter titles we have purchased in the past. This book is a solid read for the recommended age group of 9-14. If you have children older than 14, I would suggest you look at the Lamplighter books recommended for ages 12-99, as they would probably be a better fit for independent reading. They have a plethora of titles to choose from with the superb presentation of old-fashioned covers, quality binding and stories with solid morals and interesting plots.

-Product review by Carol Emmert, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April, 2017