By Tammy L. Hensel
(This is a tribute to both my grandmother and one of our shared favorite authors, Grace Livingston Hill.)
Bittersweet memories fill my mind today. The sort of memories you have when you realize it's the birthday of a loved one who is no longer on earth to celebrate. The person filling my mind today is my maternal grandmother.
Among other things, my grandmother and I shared a passion for reading. (I was also her cooking and gardening buddy.) She introduced me to many authors without even realizing it as I browsed her overflowing book shelves.I first read Shakespeare from a volume I found there when I was still in grade school.
I remember vividly the day she purposely introduced to an author I enjoyed much more. When I was about 14 years old, she handed me a well-worn paperback—Rose Galbraith by Grace Livingston Hill. It was the perfect book for a young teenage girl. I will always be grateful to my grandmother for giving that book to me as an alternative to the more worldly paperback romances directed at young teens.
Grace Livingston Hill (1865–1947) wrote more than 100 books, mostly contemporary Christian novels. She developed a formula for Christian romance that endures today of characters who faced real-life problems with courage and faith.
It's hard for a girl to imagine her grandmother as a young woman. But reading books set in time periods that were contemporary to her helped to bridge the generation gap. I'm not sure when my grandmother began reading Hill, but I suspect it was as a teenager. I know it was before my mother was born because she told me she named her after the title character in Dawn of the Morning—another one of her favorites.
If you love Christian romance, but have never read Grace Livingston Hill, I highly recommend her. If you have one or more favorites among her books, please share in a comment. It's hard for me to pick a favorite because I love some many. My top 10 (in alphabetical order because I can't rank them) are:
1. All Through the Night (1945)
2. Crimson Roses (1928)
3. Dawn of the Morning (1911)
4. Happiness Hill (1932)
5. Partners (1940)
6. The Patch of Blue (1932)
7. Rainbow Cottage (1934)
8. Rose Galbraith (1940)
9. Time of the Singing of the Birds (1944)
10. White Orchids (1935)