Grace Livingston Hill

November 25, 2008

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.

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