Saturday, July 08, 2006

Why G.L.H.--part I

Some people who read my blog will know who G.L.H. is, and even understand the name of my blog, Rainbow Cottage. If not, I will tell you that G.L.H. are the initials of my favorite author, Grace Livingston Hill. I have read most of her books (there are 75 or 100), and have quite a collection of them in my home.

She wrote from the late 1890's to her death in 1947. Her books are formulaic--they feature the rich girl/poor boy, or poor girl/rich boy. One of the two is a Christian, and by his/her example, brings the other to a saving knowledge of Christ. The salvation message is always very clearly stated.

She wrote at a rate of 1 or 2 per year, so the literary value is minimal. She's not even always consistent--I can think of two books where characters change names in the middle. She wrote in a time where well-to-do whites were considered better than others--she portrays "garlic eaters" as dirty laborers who live in tenements with their many, equally dirty children playing in the street. The heroine always treats her "colored" servants "well." (as if they were equal.) I consider that a sign of the times in which she wrote--it doesn't stop me from reading them.

In Grace's books, the grandmothers are always "sweet," and to a one they are "dainty housekeepers." The villains always have "weak chins" and "fulsome lips." (as someone with fulsome lips myself, I take offense!) The heroes always have "firm, pleasant lips." (there's that Lip Thing again.)

Names crop up here and there in random patterns. The White Lady features Constance Wetherill--Marjorie Wetherill is the heroine in Brentwood. Then you have Constance Courtland in Matched Pearls. Courtland comes up in another book, too. There are heroes with Graham as the first as well as the last names. (I'm not complaining--*I* couldn't make up names for 75 stories!!) Grace herself writes under the name Hill (her first husband who died), Lutz (her second husband from whom she was divorced--bad guy), and I have a copy of The White Lady that says "by Marcia MacDonald," and underneath, "Grace L. Hill." M. MacDonald was her mother's name.

As for the name of my blog, Rainbow Cottage was the first "Grace" book that I read. That was the summer (1968) when I decided I wanted to read 100 books in the summer. I had a running list taped to my bedroom door. At least half of those books were Graces. It was a great time (age 13) to get steeped in healthy romance stories. A great move up from all the fairy tales I had read. (anybody remember the Colored Fairy books by Andrew Lang? Red Fairy Book, Blue, Green, Grey, etc?)

Thanks for letting me share. I'm hoping other Grace fans will find me here.

Next time: Grace, part II: the Brave Little Hats.

1 comment :

Terri said...

Rainbow Cottage is one of my favorites - so far! Although my all-time favorite is Voice in the Wilderness.