When I was a teenager, Linda, a friend in my Sunday-school class, handed me a novel by Grace Livingston Hill and said, “You’ve got to read this.”
I had never heard of the author, but Linda had never steered me wrong before, so I took the book home and dove right in.
I was glad I did. After reading one book, I wanted more. Soon Grace Livingston Hill became one of my favorite authors and I began seeking out her books in second-hand stores. It wasn’t long before I had a pretty good collection of my own.
I enjoyed the plots and the characters, of course; but I discovered that I also loved the way Mrs. Hill made the time period of her stories come to life.
I was fascinated by her descriptions of American life in the 1920s and 1930s.
I loved reading about easy chairs on the veranda and gardens that always yielded beautiful blooms; train travel and jaunty cars that never seemed to run out of gasoline.
Not long ago I came across some examples of the art of Paul Gustave Fischer, which are featured in this post. His works immediately made me think of Grace Livingston Hill’s novels.
The artist captured in his paintings the same thing Mrs. Hill captured in her books: Movement. Grace Livingston Hill’s heroines were always on the move; they were going somewhere, and they had purpose in their fictional lives.
I wish I could remember which Grace Livingston Hill novel I read first. It was a long time ago, but I think it was Job’s Niece or Bright Arrows.
Either way, that book is gone now, along with the original dust jacket, because I followed Linda’s example one day and lent it to another friend with the same words Linda said to me: “You’ve got to read this.”
I never got the book back, but that’s okay. I hope my friend enjoyed the book as much as I did and decided to keep it, so she could read it again.
Because that’s exactly what I do with my collection of Grace Livingston Hill books: I re-read them again and again.
How about you? Have you ever read a book by Grace Livingston Hill? What author’s books have a guaranteed place on your keeper-shelf?
I’ve always loved history, and when I was a kid, I was enamored of the period surrounding America’s War of Independence.
It began, I think, when I read the children’s novel Johnny Tremain. It’s about a young teen in Boston who is caught up in the events that lead to the American Revolution.
My interest in that time period heightened when I began watching a TV show called The Young Rebels. It was about a group of four teens/young adults who single-handedly fought off the British Army’s attempts to infiltrate Philadelphia and its environs.
From time to time the Rebels had help from General the Marquis de Lafayette of France. I think my first crush was on Philippe Forquet, who played Lafayette in the show. I recall that he had a charming French accent and a pair of dimples that went on for days.
Rick Ely (whose brother Ron played Tarzan in his own TV show) starred as Jeremy, the leader of the merry band of patriots. Alex Henteloff played a brainy, Benjamin-Franklin-like character who was always inventing explosives or contraptions to harass the British army with. Louis Gossett, Jr. played a brave ex-slave, and in a few episodes Hilary Thompson played Jeremy’s sometime girlfriend.
Together, Lafayette and the Rebels blew up British munitions depots, blocked British cavalry troops from crossing rivers, thwarted the King’s messengers from reaching their commanders in time to summon help. By the time the show went off the air, I was convinced they had single-handedly won the War of Independence for all Americans (high school history classes subsequently corrected that belief).
It was a lot like The A-Team (a TV show that came along twelve years later) set during Colonial America, but with wigs and waistcoats.
I loved that show, and I especially loved the character of Lafayette.
But it should be known that I wasn’t the only one with a crush Lafayette. America love him, too . . . the real Lafayette, that is.
And when Lafayette returned to the United States in 1824, American’s rolled out the red carpet for him.
Newspapers published adoring tributes to him.
Cities erected monuments in his honor.
Banks printed his image on money.
Communities held banquets and balls and welcomed him to every event as if he were royalty.
Lafayette’s image was everywhere, from playing cards to cigar boxes.
But when I think of Lafayette, I don’t think of those images; I still think of the lasting impression a young actor named Philippe Forquette made on me when I was young. I still remember how a TV show helped ignite my love for our country’s history at the time we were fighting for our independence.
In fact, the show helped ignite my love for history of all eras, and I’m fortunate to be able to share some of the historical bits and bobs I’ve collected along the way in the blogs I write.
Tomorrow is America’s birthday, and in honor of the day, I think I’m going to reread the book that started it all, Johnny Tremain.
What about you? Was there a television show, book, or movie that made an impact on you when you were young? Please share your thoughts!
We’re expecting snow in Denver tonight. You may think that’s not a remarkable occurrence in Denver at this time of year, and normally I’d agree with you.
But this winter has been unusually dry for us. We’ve had precious little rain or snowfall, here in Denver and up in the high country where ski resorts rely on fresh snowfall.
It’s such an unusual weather pattern for us; in fact, I’ve been doing my daily walks in 60 to 70 degree weather . . . in March! It’s a little crazy!
Tonight we’re expecting snow, and tomorrow I intend to enjoy all the things that naturally go with a wintry day. I’ve already promised myself that if I’m good and get all my chores done (that includes writing at least 500 words on my current work-in-progress), I get to do what I love to do most on a snow day:
Curl up on the couch with a good book.
Sounds good, right? I’ve already got my afternoon planned, and I know what I’ll need:
A soft blanket to cover my legs
A freshly brewed cup of cinnamon apple spice tea
A dog or two to cuddle with
A great read
And I’ve already selected the book I’m going to read: Promise of Peppermint by Valerie Comer.
Valerie is one of my favorite authors; I never miss her books. If you haven’t read any of Valerie’s novels, you’re in luck, because right now you can read Promise of Peppermint for free!
It’s a great way to read one of Valerie’s books for free and decide if she’s an author you’d like to read in the future. And if you decide her style of writing isn’t for you, just unsubscribe from the newsletter.
I hope your Monday is a great one. Stay warm . . . and enjoy the book!
(P. S. I’m a fan of Valerie’s Christian romances, but I don’t know Valerie and I don’t get any compensation for recommending her books. I just like sharing my favorite authors and books with you.)
Today’s post is something of a continuation of my last post, but not by design. I originally intended to write about an entirely different topic, but I got side-tracked.
First, I’ll make a confession: I love writers. Whenever I get a chance to meet one—and I’ve met a good number of writers at book signings and conferences over the years—I get pretty giddy. Giddy in the same way some people get when they meet a Hollywood celebrity.
In my defense, I have shelves full of books that have earned the “keeper” designation. These are books I read and loved; most of them I’ve re-read several times; all of them touched me emotionally or conveyed a story that was so powerful I instantly wanted to run out and buy the author’s next book. Which brings me to author Lisa Wingate.
I’ll confess I’m a big fan of Lisa Wingate’s books. I read her novel Word Gets Around about seven years ago and enjoyed it so much I’ve been buying her books ever since. I never miss a new Lisa Wingate novel.
So I was glad to learn there are other Lisa Wingate fans out there just like me.
Today’s post on the Inspy Romance blog is all about Lisa Wingate and her books. In the post Lisa reveals a few hints about the novel she just finished writing (think World War I era), and she shares a link to her Pinterest site . . . plus many more little gems about her books and writing process.
I hope you’ll you’ll head over to the Inspy Romance blog and check out her interview. Maybe you’ll become a Lisa Wingate Fan-girl, too!
Don’t you love it when you learn one of your favorite authors has a new book available?
Regina Scott is one of my favorite authors. I first began reading her historical romances at least fifteen (or more!) years ago.
Some of her stories are light-hearted and fun; some have an element of suspense. No matter the plot or premise, I can always count on an entertaining read.
So I was pleased to learn Harlequin Love Inspired has published her latest novel, His Frontier Christmas Family.
It’s book seven in Regina’s Frontier Bachelor series, but it’s a great book that stands alone … no need to read previous books in the series to enjoy this one.
Britt Reads Fiction (my go-to site for book reviews) just posted a five-star review of His Frontier Christmas Family, and I’ve already pegged it as the book I plan to cozy up with this weekend to help get me in the Christmas spirit. I’m so looking forward to reading it!
I have a few more Christmas-themed novels to read in the days leading up to Christmas, but Regina Scott’s books stand out for me as some of my favorite all-time reads.
How about you? Is there an author whose books you never fail to read and enjoy?
If you’re a fan of Grace Livingston Hill, you may know a lot about her life and her books. I thought I did; and I thought I’d read all her books. For proof I have a good collection of her vintage hard-backs on my bookshelves at home.
But something I didn’t realize until recently was how much Grace wrote for magazines and newspapers.
For years she wrote a weekly newspaper column dedicated to the Christian Endeavor movement.
She also wrote short stories and serialized books for a number of different magazines.
I came across a couple of those old magazine issues not too long ago; and once I began to read Grace’s short stories, I knew I had to find more. I’ve been on a mission to find her stories ever since.
It’s tough going. Magazines from about 1900 to 1910 (when Grace was at the height of her short-story production) are hard to find. And some of the magazines she wrote for went out of business long ago—their records ending up who-knows-where.
But I’ve been faithfully searching for those old magazines and I’ve had some success.
And each time I find a new story by Grace Livingston Hill, I realize what a gem it is and I have to share it!
I’ve reproduced some of her short stories on the Isabella Alden blog. You can click on the images to read the stories for free:
You can also find a collection of some of Grace’s early short stories in Faith and Love. It’s a compilation of stories by Grace and by her mother, Marcia Livingston. The book is available on Amazon.com. You can click on the link to learn more and read an excerpt.
I hope you enjoy reading these hard-to-find gems as much I did!