I’m a huge Grace Livingston Hill fan. Granted, not all her books resonate with me, but there are a few that I absolutely love, like The Enchanted Barn and Crimson Roses. And the best part is that she wrote over 100 books and I haven’t yet read them all! When I have time, I like to dive into a new GLH novel.
I like the fact that most of them are romances, and I especially appreciate that they all have strong Christian themes. Occasionally the Christian content is a little heavy-handed for my taste, but it’s so interesting to see what the Christian faith was like in the early part of the 20th century. These books are often Cinderella-type stories or A Little Princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett) type stories, which I love.
And the best part is that they’re all set in the early 1900s, so the time period is absolutely fascinating! GLH wrote from before 1900 through the 1940s, and her books reflect what was, to her, “current” culture. Reading from her characters’ points of view about the flappers of the 20s to both world wars is really interesting to me.
Her books have been reprinted several times, mostly recently in paperback forms by Bantam, Tyndale, and Barbour. But I discovered a few years ago that some of her older books are now out of copyright and so the scanned ebooks are available for free on Google Books.
Google Books has both .epub and .pdf files available for you to download. The .epub versions can be read on any ebook reader, but they were created by processing the .pdf file with a word recognition software to translate it into a book file and there are often typos because the process isn’t perfect.
I like to download the .pdf files because those are the actual scanned pages from the original hardcover books, and when I read it on my computer or if I sideload it onto my Nook, it’s almost like holding the original hardcover book in my hands, minus the silverfish and weak binding and weird library smell. :)
(If you have a Kindle, you can send the .epub version to Amazon to email to your Kindle. I’m not certain how to sideload .pdf files to your Kindle, but I know it’s possible.)
I thought I’d link to the free GLH books I found on Google Books in case any of you would like to read them!
Aunt Crete’s Emancipation
Meek, work-worn Aunt Crete didn't mind staying home while her sister and niece hurried off to the seashore for a holiday with their high-society friends. The thought of having her other sister's son, Donald, all to herself brought unaccustomed happiness to Aunt Crete's heart. But how was she going to explain Carrie and Luella's rude departure to the man they had scorned as a "backwoods cousin," even though none of them had ever met him. Ah well, Aunt Crete knew she would love Donald, no matter what.
But the man who comes knocking on Aunt Crete's door is tall and handsome -- and it quickly becomes clear that the disapproving Carrie and selfish Luella have made a decision they will come to regret. Aunt Crete alone enters the fairytale world her benevolent nephew has come to offer.…
The Grace Livingston Hill website has a great feature with more information about the book and the time period, which was sometime before 1910:
I read this one a long time ago and remember really enjoying it. It’s not a romance per se, but it’s a sweet book.
A Chautauqua Idyl
Grace’s first published book was A Chautauqua Idyll. Published in 1887, Grace wrote the book in an effort to earn enough money to take the family to the Chautauqua Lake program in New York when her father’s health had forced them to move to Florida. It was the beginning of a long and productive writing career.
I haven’t read this one, yet, but I was happy to get an ebook copy since it’s hard to find in paperback.
The City of Fire
Lynn, the beautiful daughter of a small town minister, is deeply troubled by the barrier which has come between her and her former playmate, Mark. When Billy engages in a thoughtless prank in which Mark is mistaken for the son of a wealthy family, he is kidnapped and taken to a secluded house in the mountains. But that same night, when the lover of Mark's friend Cherry is shot and killed, Mark is accused of the murder, and cannot prove an alibi. Billy is afraid to tell the truth, but he alone can save Mark from this black affair. Will Lynn's faith be enough to bring strength and shine a beacon of light and truth onto Mark's most uncertain faith? Lamp Post is proud to present it's Fiction: Inspired series - timeless, inspirational books for all lovers of fiction who want to feel good about the books they read.
This was originally published in 1922. I can’t remember if I read this one or not. Oh well! I guess I’ll read it again! :)
Gentle, lovely Julia Cloud has devoted her life to caring for others. Now, after her invalid mother's death, she is without the financial means to live on her own. But she dreads accepting her selfish younger sister's offer to go and live with her and take care of her demanding children.
Then, just when Julia resigns herself to a bleak future as a servant in her sister's home, something amazing happens! Julia's lively young niece and nephew, her deceased brother's children, turn up on her doorstep with a thrilling proposition. Suddenly Julia is thrown into an exciting adventure--and she discovers more happiness and love than she ever dreamed she could have!
I remember reading this one a long time ago and absolutely loving it! It was published in 1920.
Dawn of the Morning
Though Dawn lived in a world of affluence, she couldn't find the comfort and love she so desperately needed. Her stepmother despised her, and her father ignored her. Then one day they came to her with shocking news: she was to be married--to the man of their choice.
Now it was Dawn's wedding day. She knew she should be filled with joy and anticipation. Instead, all she felt was hopelessness. For Dawn had finally found a man she could love, a man who seemed to understand her deepest thoughts and most-cherished feelings.
A man who was her fiance's brother .. .
I was really glad to get this on ebook because this was one book I didn’t have--I just never was able to find a copy at my library or at used book stores. This was published in 1911.
The Enchanted Barn
Thanks to daughter Shirley's courage and resourcefulness, the homeless Hollisters were able to transform a deserted stone barn into a delightful residence. Their ingenuity even astounded the rich young landlord, Sidney Graham, who found the place a new haven of happiness, especially when Shirley was there. But his glad willingness to help them renovate worried her Shirley could never accept charity, and she feared that he would one day forsake them and return to his world of wealth now that she was falling helplessly in love with him.
One of my FAVORITE GLH books out of all the ones I’ve read!!! It was published in 1918.
The Finding of Jasper Holt
That fateful night of the train crash their lives became entwined. And, despite the wild stories of Jasper Holt's past, young Jean Grayson's heart would never belong to anyone but this handsome stranger who had saved her life. But Jasper knew her family would forbid their love, so he made a promise to her that would one day prove his virtue to all those who swore to keep them apart.…
This is another book where I never managed to get a paperback copy so I was glad to get this on ebook! This was published in 1916.
The Girl from Montana
A family tragedy leaves Elizabeth alone in the vast Montana wilderness fleeing for her life from a man who desires to possess her. Along her perilous journey she meets a mysterious lost traveler on a path of his own. Elizabeth's journey to reunite with her family becomes on of danger, friendship and of learning who the Lord to whom she prays really is. As she makes her way East...will she find the home she is longing for and the love she has always desired?
I had a copy of this book in a Barbour anthology but haven’t read it yet. This was published in 1908.
When Michael was a homeless waif roaming New York's back alleys, he risked his life to save the life of another child, beautiful Starr Endicott. This act of devotion to a girl he worshiped from afar changed the course of his life forever, for Starr's grateful father sent him away to a fine school where Michael grew into a handsome, well-educated man of deep convictions.
Then he returned to New York, intent on repaying his benefactor and helping the loyal street kids who had been his only family. But from the first moment he saw Starr again, he knew he was helplessly in love. Believing he was not worthy of her, Michael vowed never to press his suit . . . until danger in the form of a vile, scheming suitor forced him to risk everything to save Starr once again.
This was one of the first GLH books I read and I really liked it, especially with the way it depicted the time period. This was published in 1913.
The Man of the Desert
Living a life of privilege, Hazel Radcliffe yearned for more. When circumstances find her lost and alone in the untamed Arizona desert, Hazel is surprised to find that her senses are awakened by the gentle kindness of a handsome stranger. Even more surprising is what she has found - love. And yet, Hazel realizes that the life of this gentle missionary is worlds away from her own, a world that she must return to. Can she ever return to her pampered and sheltered life after feeling like she is finally alive? Will she ever be able to fit in to the life of this man who has dedicated himself to God's service in a barren land? Hazel knows it is time for the greatest journey of her life, but will she be brave enough to take it?
I can’t remember if I read this or not. This was published in 1914.
When Marcia Schuyler's beautiful and selfish older sister, Kate, abandons handsome David Spafford at the wedding altar, Marcia offers to take Kate's place. Her offer is accepted, and Marcia finds herself married to a man she hardly knows.
Though David shows Marcia every kindness, she is painfully aware that he still loves her sister--a fact that strikes deep, since Marcia has begun to truly love her husband. Then Kate returns, and she is determined to win David back--no matter what it takes or who it hurts.
Now Marcia must fight to save her marriage and the man she loves from a desperate web of lies and deceit.
I absolutely loved this book, and the two related ones, Phoebe Deane and Miranda. This was published in 1908.
The Mystery of Mary
When a beautiful young woman approaches wealthy Tryon Dunham at a train station and tells him she is in danger, he agrees to see her to safety. Then, before he can learn any more about her other than that her name is Mary and she is running to Chicago, she is gone.
But Tryon cannot forget Mary's beautiful face and spirit. Soon he finds himself trying desperately to solve the mystery that surrounds her . . . a mystery that could overwhelm them both. And he determines to discover the true identity of the young woman he longs to protect--and love.
I remember I read and liked this one, although I don’t remember much else about it. This was published in 1912.
The Obsession of Victoria Gracen
The straight-laced little town of Roslyn was shocked when Victoria Gracen welcomed young Dick into her home. What would a gentle, lovely young woman want with a reckless trouble-maker? Especially one who had no plans to reform. So when Victoria tried to tame the boy's wild ways with tenderness and faith, no one believed she'd succeed. But they hadn't counted on one thing: only a heart of steel could resist Victoria Gracen!
I never read this book because I never got a copy before I got the ebook. This was published in 1915.
Beautiful young Phoebe was desperate! Cruel and cunning Hiram Greene had declared his intention to marry her. At first, Phoebe didn't take Hiram seriously. After all, he couldn't force her into marriage. -- Then Hiram launched a shrewd campaign of deceit and lies about Phoebe. Soon everyone around her, even her family, seemed determined to make her give in to Hiram. Could she stop when Hiram had started before it was too late? Or would she lose everything--her freedom, her happiness, and her wonderful new friendship with handsome Nathaniel Graham?
Loved this, almost as much as I loved Marcia Schuyler! The story of Miranda continues in Miranda which unfortunately isn’t available as a free ebook. This was published in 1909.
In the uncertainty of a country on the brink of World War, the spirited and privileged Ruth Macdonald is drawn to a lonely soldier by poignant and sweet childhood memories of first love. John Cameron - a man whose soul is in turmoil over finding a love that surpasses all understanding, opens his heart to her only to have their newfound faith and love threatened by the treachery of an evil man who is determined to call Ruth his own...and by the desperate war that threatens them all. Can John find faith in the unseen God that has he has searched for? And can he claim the love of the beautiful girl who has awakened his lonely heart?
I read and liked this one, especially in the setting of World War I. This was published in 1919.
Patricia Merrill thought she was being adventurous when she ran off to New York, took a new name and a job as companion to an old woman. Her family would never be able to find her now. Then she and her employer took a trip to a charming hotel in the South. To her dismay, Patty discovered that a childhood friend, John Treeves, was staying there too. Perhaps he would tell her family where she was! She knew she must keep her identity concealed--so she pretended not to know him. But it wasn't long before John's sympathetic heart and gentle understanding won her over. And Patty was ready to embark upon the greatest adventure of her life.
I didn’t like this one as much as some of her other stories, but it was still very entertaining. This was published in 1921.
A Voice in the Wilderness
Margaret Earle is ready to conquer the world...one schoolhouse at a time. Armed with her training, her ideals and her plucky optimism, Margaret sets off for the barren Arizona desert only to find herself stranded and alone. At the mercy of Lance Gardley, a handsome cowboy who comes to her aide, she begins her journey of love with the small town of Ashland and it's inhabitants. And yet, in the midst of new friendships and schoolbook lessons, Margaret finds herself caught in a web of lies and deceit spun by the very people she has come to minister to. A deceit so great it threatens the very way of life of these small town people and to destroy the sweet beginnings of love with the handsome cowboy who has become her rock. Can Margaret and Lance overcome the lies that threaten to destroy them? And will they learn to turn to each other and to their strength in God to overcome?
I remember this was one of the first books by GLH that was set out west, so it was a little different from what I was used to, but it was a fun read. This was published in 1916.
The War Romance of the Salvation Army
A battered Army truck lurches down a muddy road that's been gutted with shell holes. In the back of the truck, a group of young women draw closer together, trying to encourage each other. Several flinch at the sounds of bombs exploding and machine-gun fire all around them. They all grab frantically at the sides of the truck as it tosses them about.
Yet, despite their fear and apprehension, the women are determined not to turn back. They will reach the wounded American soldiers -- for the soldiers' lives are in their hands!
Step into the world of the dedicated Salvation Army women ... women who went to the front lines of WWI ... women who calmed fears, bathed wounds, and uttered the prayers that led thousands of men to salvation ... women whose courage knew no bounds -- even if it meant death.
I haven’t read this one because it’s not a novel, it’s a book about the Salvation Army. This was published in 1919.
A powerful story of grace from the pen of Grace Livingston Hill. Star athlete, student, and fraternity president, Paul Courtland watches while a college classmate falls to an untimely death. Struck by his own part in the tragedy, he seeks solace in the classmate's peaceful room-and in the faith he has discovered. A friend introduces him to a young woman who is certain to bring him out of his somber mood- and into trouble. After yet another tragedy, Paul must choose: to follow his emotions or his faith. Will his choice even matter to those around him?
This was a rather obvious allegory of Paul, but it’s also one of GLH’s most spiritual books. I wasn’t as interested since it’s light on romance, but it’s still a good book. This was published in 1917.