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‘Ever, only, ALL for Thee’: Glimpses of the life of Frances Ridley Havergal

June 2019 | Review by Pam Newton
  • Publisher: Leith Books, 4 Eastwood Court, Carlton Miniott, YO7 4PA
  • ISBN: 978-1893531093
  • Pages: 156
  • Price: £7.00

I really like this little book and can easily understand how it came to be written and compiled. While proof-reading The complete works of Frances Ridley Havergal, Pamela Bugden realised the many blessings to be obtained through reading and studying Havergal’s hymns and other writings.

Many will have sung her hymns over the years, but few may know the story of her life, her many talents and the vast quantity of other written material. She was a talented musician as well as hymn-writer, composing many of the tunes to her hymns, and was also said to be gifted with a beautiful singing voice.

Pamela Bugden’s book is not a biography of Havergal, but rather glimpses of different periods in her life and her writings at these times. Quotations from her letters reveal her lively character and sense of fun as well as her great love for her Saviour.

Some of her poems and hymns are quoted, and through these the reader can sense her growth in the Christian life and her desire to know more and more of the Lord – and to serve him and speak of him to those she met each day.

At the time of her death in 1879, at the early age of 42, Frances Havergal was widely known and thousands of copies of her books had been sold. I am delighted to own a copy of Under his shadow, which was given to my grandmother in 1900 when she was 15. These were Havergal’s last poems and the edition ran to 125,000 copies.

As the author of this book says, the extracts quoted are just the tip of the iceberg as regards the wealth of material available, and one wonders how many volumes would be necessary to contain the ‘complete works’!

I am pleased to recommend this book. It is easy to read and is an incentive to learn more about the life of Frances Ridley Havergal – to study some of her written material and to profit from it.

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