The Hallelujah Lass: A Story Based on the Life of Salvation Army Pioneer Eliza Shirley

Written by Wendy Lawton
Review by Lila Asher (age 8) Sue Asher

This biographical novel tells the story of Eliza Shirley, a lieutenant in the newly founded Salvation Army who brought the movement from England to America in 1880. She was only sixteen years old at the time. In this straightforward and inspiring account, the author presents a clear if somewhat stereotyped picture of the downtrodden mill-and-mine population in Coventry, England. The inner conflicts of the young Eliza are convincingly portrayed as she is moved to join and then lead these soldiers for the Lord. The book is written in an age-appropriate style for children eight to twelve years old, highlighting a sample of difficult vocabulary words that are defined in a glossary at the back. The story is interesting enough to carry both the history and moral lessons. My eight-year-old daughter read it first and asked if we could get other books in the Daughters of the Faith series. After reading it myself, I enthusiastically said yes. Ages 8-12


When a group of preaching women, or “Hallelujah Lasses,” come marching into Coventry, Eliza Shirley’s hometown, even the most drunk, evil and rough characters become good, or “converts” as the Hallelujah Lasses called them. After going to an open air meeting and helping her best friend Beck’s cousin, Eliza couldn’t keep away from them. Soon enough, she and Beck are singing for them, then joining the Hallelujah Lasses’ preaching group. When the group leaves Coventry and Eliza cannot go with them, she and Beck are forced to split up. Their only hope is to rejoin as full-fledged Hallelujah Lasses in America. I’d give it an 8 out of 10.