Her real name was Charlotte Maria Tucker, but her books were published semi-anonymously under the pseudonym A.L.O.E. - A Lady Of England. Born in England, her father was twice chairman of the British East India Company, and her family was well off financially. Her original writings were not necessarily always Christ-exalting, but later on her focus changed and she wrote always with a very clear purpose- to bring glory to God and encourage her readers, especially children, to trust and follow Christ with all their hearts. In nearly every book she clearly presents the Gospel, and always ties it to the necessary change which will take place in the life of a believer. I am not sure if she is reformed in her theology or not, but in every book I have read by her the plan of salvation is Biblical. I first ran across one of her books soon after we listened to our first Lamplighter Theater audio drama. I hunted around online to see if I could find any free ones, and found the first two episodes of The Robber's Cave (a continuing favorite of mine). I was disappointed when it turned out to be only a sample, because I desperately wanted to find out what happened. How did the story end? So I got on Internet Archive and hunted down the book. Of course I really liked it, and wanted to read more of her stories, but got distracted and kind of forgot about them. Then just recently I was reminded of A.L.O.E. when browsing around the Lamplighter website, and decided to find a few more of her titles online. Here are a few that I've found:
This book is possibly the best allegory I've read, next to The Pilgrim's Progress. It is the story of a priceless diamond from India, called the Atma (signifying the soul in some Eastern language), which is lost, and passes through many different hands before being recovered. Each person who finds it loses it in some way, and each way is one in which many people lose their own most precious possession- their souls. One loses it through a life of gaiety, another through drink, another through passionate anger, another through gambling and so on. Maurice Somers is the main character, though not a very clear one, as the story follows the Atma more than him. Some of the other characters repent of their sins and are saved, some just continue on the downward path. This book is not perhaps the most interesting pleasure read, but is very thought provoking and instructive.
This was the first book I read by A.L.O.E. and is a favorite of mine. It is the story of Horace Cleveland, a headstrong young Englishman who is traveling in Italy with his mother, whom he disrespects and overrules with his own strong will. When they are captured by robbers, his mother is set free to try and obtain a pardon for the robber captain's son, knowing that the life of her own son depends upon God's blessing on her efforts. As she works desperately to save Horace, he finds a friend in the robber's den, a young Italian Christian named Raphael, the brother of one of the robbers. As their friendship develops, Raphael leads him to Christ, and eventually through his efforts, Horace is set free in more than one way, though it costs Raphael his life.
Lamplighter produced a very good audio drama of this book, and very close to the original story, though the end is a little different. It some ways the revised ending is better, since the book seems to end a little too fast (this does seem to be common in A.L.O.E.'s books.) While I do enjoy the dramatized version of this story, discretion is required when letting young children listen to audio dramas, as it is easy to spoil their appetites for just the plain reading of the book. And the other issue with dramas is they are just that- drama. They can simply be too exciting for young children, so use wisdom when allowing them to listen to them.
A bored schoolboy and his little sister go to live with their uncle in a gloomy old house when they receive news that their father has died on his way home from India. They become friends with a young Jewish boy who is searching for truth, but then the three are brought face-to-face with death when they are trapped underground in an old mine, and no one has the slightest idea where they are. Of the three, only Phemie, apparently the weakest member of the party, knows what it is to have eternal life. Asahel has been searching for years to understand the meaning, and learn the full story connected with a single page of one of the Gospels, and thinks he may be able to find out from Arthur, but the English boy didn't care for “religion” other than going to church on Sundays because that was the proper thing to do. It rests with Phemie to explain the Gospel to both her brother and his friend, and in the short space of time remaining to them, the two boys go through a great soul-searching and sincerely repent and trust Christ. Meanwhile, the uncle of Arthur and Phemie, and Asahel's grandfather, are frantically searching for them above ground, but come to the conclusion that they have drowned, and abandon the search in despair.
Then, when all seems lost, a stranger arrives in the quiet village, and hearing the story of the lost children, sets to work to find them. The end is surprising, as the children find more than one treasure in that old deserted mine!
A.L.O.E. wrote many other books and short stories, including:
The Giant-Kiler, or The Battle Which All Must Fight (Great for young and old, a story within a story. The above link will take you to my review of this book and it's sequel, The Roby Family, or Battling with the World.)
And many others that I haven't yet read! May the Lord use these books to bless and encourage you as they have me!
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”