John Nielson Had a Daughter by Ruth Livingston Hill


Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

John NielsonJohn Nielson Had a Daughter by Ruth Livingston Hill

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

October 5, 2010
I shan’t elaborate, but this book saved my life, quite a few years ago. A pity I had to return it to the library, but my now having a copy of my own has allowed me to reread it whenever I want. I just may read it a fourth time.

April 9, 2014
I’ve been telling people for a while now that this book saved my life when I was thirteen. I wouldn’t put the details of that experience into a book review, but it’s important to note that this is the book that first opened my eyes to the power of literature, beyond its uses for education and pleasure. John Nielson Had a Daughter may not be placed on the shelf of any prestigious Hall of Fame for literary merit, but its story of hope was exactly what I needed, when I needed it. Yes, it’s expressly Christian as well as old-fashioned reading, but it’s only a matter of time, a lifetime or two, before every book becomes old-fashioned. I don’t think “old-fashioned” is just the same as “out of fashion” or “obsolete,” and hope never goes out of style. Humanity would do well to hang on to this story, and other stories like it.

As a reader, I now count this novel to be my all-time favorite book for the importance of the purpose it has served in my life.


As the saying from Romeo and Juliet goes, “That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.” After years of cherishing John Nielson Had a Daughter, first published in 1950, I just learned this year that it was republished with a different name in 1986 and 1992, The Homecoming. I’m sure it was prudent to change the title for marketing reasons, and The Homecoming is a good and suitable choice. Yet, for this novel, I’m partial to the original title for the way it says something particular about this particular story, and the original ring of it has its own genius. However, I must admit I think the book covers got better with each publishing.




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