Gladys Aylward: A Life for China

ISBN 978 1909281 49 3
144 pages.
Published 15/7/2016

£3.82 -£19.00

Hardback, Paperback, Kindle

Wounded by a Japanese bullet while guiding nearly a hundred refugee children to safety over the mountains of China, Gladys Aylward was larger than life. Her story inspired the 1958 film Inn of the Sixth Happiness, with Ingrid Bergman in the lead role. 

In reality Gladys, or Ai-weh-deh as she became known in China, was a short, uncompromising woman from the East End of London. At the age of 32 she was called by God to far-off China. Undeterred by criticism and contrary advice she set off, trusting God alone to meet all her needs.  When she died in 1970, aged 67, she was a Chinese citizen who had helped and brought hope to thousands of women and children.

This biography incorporates original material and digs beneath the surface into some of the controversies that surrounded her life and work – an inspiring record of human bravery, perseverance against all the odds, and God’s sustaining power.

Carol is a freelance writer, former teacher, member of the Association of Christian Writers, the Scottish Fellowship of Christian Writers and the Society of Authors. Her other biographies examined the lives of George Muller, Frances Ridley Havergal and Mary Slessor. She blogs at and her books are available from Amazon.

This is the true life story of Gladys Aylward, the inspiration for 1958 film starring Curt Jürgens, Robert Donat and Ingrid Bergman. Gladys Aylward was a missionary who went to China to preach Christianity and it is fair to say that she was not particularly impressed by the 20th Century Fox adaptation of her life which was filmed in Snowdonia. In this candid book we hear that she was displeased with her portrayal as she thought it was overly romanticised and really did not like the “nick nack paddy whack” scene as she only taught the Chinese orphans Christian hymns. Sadly, Gladys Aylward as Gladys died shortly before her scheduled meeting with Ingrid Bergman and we can only summise what conversation they would have had. Regardless of the film for which Gladys Aylward is most famous, this is an inspiring story. 5 stars.

Amazon Review

Preface vii

1 Set Apart by God 1

2 Multiplied Blessings 7

3 Preparations for China 15

4 Europe and Asia 21

5 Even Further East 27

6 First Impressions of China 35

7 Start of the Inn 41

8 Alone in the Inn 47

9 Foot Inspector 51

10 Motherhood 57

11 Justice in China 61

12 War 67

13 Further War 71

14 The Trek Commences 77

15 The Yellow River 83

16 Recovery to Health 89

17 Revivals and Persecution 97

18 Leaving China 101

19 England 105

20 Return to the Far East, and Publicity 111

21 World Recognition 117

22 Further Years 123

23 Death 127

24 Continuing Work 133

Bibliography 135

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