It's the "backstory" that makes Grace Livingston Hill's books come alive...
Because they were contemporary fiction in Grace's day, her books are essentially a living history lesson. If you're a lover of 20th-century history, you'll find first-hand accounts of the way people lived and the issues of the day. Just take a look at the copyright date, brush up a bit on what was happening in that year, and you're ready to experience what it was like.
In the pages of her books you'll find accounts of life in the 19th century and stories from the days of the western frontier; families surviving (and sometimes thriving) during the Great Depression, tales of road houses, prohibition, and temperance, stories shedding light on tenement life and sweatshops, and quite a few books dealing with life on the homefront and in the trenches during World War I and II. Grace points her readers to the ultimate solution to every problem—salvation through Jesus Christ and walking with HIm through all of life's tragedies and triumphs.
Most Grace Livingston Hill books are written with the Gospel message woven into the story, but along with that came lots of practical advice for living.
Through her characters, Grace teaches us about everyday things like housekeeping, menu planning, cooking, and caring for the sick; how to act and dress like a lady, regardless of the decade; making over dresses and hats as fashions change; the importance of beautiful surroundings and how to create something out of nothing to make even the simplest home more pleasant; and, most importantly, how to see God's handiwork in our everyday lives.
Grace was often ahead of her time. Her heroines frequently declared their independence by leaving their homes and striking out on their own. Granted, some were forced into that independence, but these strong women showed us that even a fourth-story back with only milk and crackers for supper could be tolerated and might even be a haven of rest in a storm. Many of her characters found happiness through marriage in the end, but Grace was sure to give lots of advice on choosing the right mate and many examples of what happens when you don't.
Along the way, Grace shared her favorite books with us by placing them on their bookshelves and her favorite hymns were often selected to especially fit the storyline, leaving modern readers to wonder what they must have sounded like.
Enjoy your journey into Grace's lifetime.