by Hesba Stretton
Hesba Stretton was considered to be the writer who perfected the field of evangelical fiction. She used this style of fiction to bring social and moral problems to the English public. Fern's Hollow was published by the Religious Tract Society, one of Britain's leading evangelical publishers.
It is the story of a young lad, Stephen, who, on the death of his father, is left fending for himself, his siblings and his grandfather. It is set near a poor mining community in an English county bordering with Wales, a community where abuse of alcohol and language is the norm.
Stephen's mentor, who is portrayed as an ideal Christian woman, quotes liberally from the Bible in her instruction of the boy. Through her influence he finds a solid faith in God and in a simple way has an impact on the lives of all those around him--his family and friends, his colleagues in the mine, the mine bosses and the landowners. Stephen doggedly stands by his newfound faith in God despite slipping up along the way.
Right and wrong are clearly defined in the characters and situations. The highlighted injustices in the social and working conditions of the underprivileged--long hours, low wages, and an unconcerned management--plays an important part in bringing the story to a satisfactory conclusion for Stephen and the community.
A sample chapter of Fern's Hollow is available on this website
The full text can also be read online or downloaded free of charge. It is in XHTML format, like this page. Please note the file size is 240kb and it may take some time to open-up if you choose to read it online. Downloading for reading later may be the preferred option and this can be typically achieved by calling up an option box. If you have a mouse and it is configured for left click to select, right clicking the link may give you this option. Link to the full text of Fern's Hollow.
Page created 18 November 2002 and last
updated 17 December 2002
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