Grace Livingston Hill

glhGrace Livingston Hill lived from 1865-1947 and in that time she managed to write hundreds of “Christian Romance” novels which continue to grace the shelves of fundamentalists households everywhere.

The writing in these books is squeaky clean. The heroines never say a bad word, have a bad thought, or really do anything at all except be perfect nice and suffer indignities at the hands of unkind people. The heroine then inevitably apologizes for making the cruel person go to all the trouble of being unkind.

Also included in the stories is some sort of romance of this variety:

At last he spoke, interrupting her brooding over his roses.

“You are running away from me!” he charged.

“Well, and what if I am?” She looked at him with a loving defiance in her eyes.

“Don’t you know I love you?” he asked, sitting down beside her and talking low and almost fiercely. “Don’t you know I’ve been torn away from you, or you from me, twice before now, and that I cannot stand it any more? Say, don’t you know it? Answer, please,” The demand was kind, but peremptory.

“I was afraid so,” she murmured with drooping eyes, and cheeks from which all color had fled.

“Well, why do you do it? Why did you run away? Don’t you care for me? Tell me that. If you can’t ever love me, you are excusable; but I must know it all now.”

“Yes, I care as much as you,” she faltered, “but——”

“But what?” sharply.

“But you are going to be married this week,” she said in desperation, raising her miserable eyes to his.

He looked at her in astonishment.

“Am I?” said he. “Well, that’s news to me; but it’s the best news I’ve heard in a long time. When does the ceremony come off? I wish it was this morning. Make it this morning, will you? Let’s stop this blessed old train and go back to the Doctor. He’ll fix it so we can’t ever run away from each other again. Elizabeth, look at me!”

But Elizabeth hid her eyes now. They were full of tears.

Countless hearts of fundamentalist girls (and more than a few boys) thrill to lines such as these as they dream of someday meeting their own Prince Charming who they will mistakenly think is marrying someone else until the last ten pages of the story.

Chaste and awkward love makes the fundy world go ’round.

17 thoughts on “Grace Livingston Hill”

  1. Elizabeth was hot and I wanted to marry her but that stupid guy in the book always got to her first. So I eventually fell in love with Jannette Oke.

  2. I read every GLH book on the shelf in our church library while my mom was hiding bodice-rippers under her bed (I found those too). 🙂

  3. I’m SO embarrassed! Yes, I have around fifty of her books! Yes, they’re corny and over-exaggerated and there are always horrible villains and noble heroes and dignified damsels in distress. But I still find them fun to read, especially for a glimpse of another world: the classicism in the stories is very heavy-handed. It makes me laugh at social details that no longer apply for us in 2010 such as a girl worrying that she would be recognized and remembered because she was traveling without a hat or how the “bad girls” are always flappers and wearing make-up! (The heroes NEVER really like the unnatural red lips of the floozies!)

  4. BTW: I meant to write “classism” not “classicism” – meaning a very delineated class system – upper and lower, etc.

  5. I read a whole slew of these, and later on bought a bunch when the library was having a sale. I like them but GLH’s characters are so one dimensional, they’re either squeaky clean perfect or all bad. No in between. 🙂

  6. Plus, there are only four plots. I can enumerate them if you wish, but I’ll bet you know what they are. 😉

  7. I know they always end up wealthy-beyond-all-their-dreams and able to live happily ever after as a result.

    1. I remember reading these books as a young girl. I think the expectations of “living happily after” either really helped me survive through the bad times (giving me hope that all would work out right in the end) or possibly messed me up in the first place, giving me unrealistic hopes of what to expect out of life. I really can’t complain at this point. After hanging in there for 33 years I guess it is FINALLY about time to say “And we lived happily ever after”

      1. You have earned your stripes, solider, and yes, it is time to say it, for sure. 🙂

  8. HAHA! I forgot that I commented on this thread months ago. I guess that is all that stood out in them to me.

  9. Apparently, my circles of fundystan didn’t partake. I’ve not heard of Grace Livingston Hill.

    I’ll have to ask the wife.


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