My Nostalgia: Grace Livingston Hill Books

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.

At the Seaside, by Paul Gustave Fischer.

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.

In the Garden, by Paul Gustave Fischer.

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.

At the Tram Stop, by Paul Gustave Fischer.

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.

In the Train Compartment, by Paul Gustave Fischer.

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?

Isabella Alden and the Pansy Books

Almost two years ago a friend and I were scouring used bookstores and the Internet, looking for books by our favorite Christian author, Isabella Alden. We’d been sharing her books for years, texting each other with “Guess what I just found?” whenever we came across a title we hadn’t read┬ábefore.

The Randolphs
Original cover of The Randolphs by Isabella Alden

You may have heard of Isabella. She wrote hundreds of short stories and novels in the late 1800s and early 1900s, all centered around God’s message of salvation.

Sadly, her books fell out of fashion in the early 1920s and since then, she’s been known mostly as the favorite aunt of author Grace Livingston Hill.

Those readers who have heard of her often think she wrote only children’s stories. It’s true that she did write quite a few of those, but her novels for adults are the books my friend and I treasure.

Isabella Alden had a wonderful way of applying God’s word to the lives of her characters; and in each story , she demonstrated how relevant God’s word was then, and how relevant it is to me now. By the time I finish reading one of her books, I am amazed at the love God has for me; and I realize how my actions can influence someone else for Christ (a regular theme in Isabella’s books).

Original cover for Wise and Otherwise by Isabella Alden
Original cover for Wise and Otherwise by Isabella Alden

Isabella Alden’s books are thought provoking; they inspire me to consider my choices, think about my actions, and strive to be a better Christian.

By now you may be asking yourself: Can a book really do all those things or has Jenny gone just a wee bit over the deep end? My answer: Yes, a book can really do those things. Oh, yes. It can.

And Isabella’s books are proof of how inspiring a work of fiction can be.

That’s why it became important for us to find a way of preserving her books and making them available to today’s reader. My friend and I pooled our copies and started publishing Isabella Alden’s novels as e-books.

We started a website (www.IsabellaAlden.com) to share her books, and to chronicle Isabella’s life and the times. You can view the website by clicking here.

I hope you’ll take a few moments to visit the site. Check out the Free Reads tab where you’ll find a selection of Isabella’s books and short stories.

If you enjoy the stories you find there, please help us spread the word about Isabella Alden and her inspiring Christian books.