Published in 1934 (the dark depths of the Great Depression), The Christmas Bride by Christian author Grace Livingston Hill is the simple oft-told tale of good triumphing over evil and love over hate. As romances go, it’s a sweet, basically improbable story of rich man meets poor girl and saves the farm. Here’s the inside cover blurb:
Gregory Sterling, now a wealthy man, has just returned to his home from the West. He had no relatives whom he could count on, not even Alice Blair, the little girl he had thought he loved until the day she ran way with another man. Greg’s life in the East would have been a lonely one had he not seen Margaret slump and then slide off the park bench in a dead faint. Her sweet face and poverty stricken appearance aroused Greg’s ardent sympathy, so he had her cared for in a hospital until she was forced from the place by the insulting remarks of the head nurse. But Margaret could not have gone out of his life for good. Would he ever find her again?
I’ve mentioned before how I grew up reading the GLH books from my local library. I don’t think I’ve read all she wrote, because the number is staggering! Find a list of her voluminous offerings here. But The Christmas Bride was one of my all-time favorites and tugged at the heartstrings of a rather naive, romantic adolescent. Years later I bought an original copy which now resides in a glass-front case with other special vintage/antique books.
Something about her writing has endured over the years. She even has her own website where you’ll find many interesting tidbits about the woman, the writer, the settings, and even the backstories. A Yahoo group reads a book each month and discusses it online. And, sometime in the 1970s, the books transitioned to paperbacks with updated covers to appeal to a brand-new generation of readers.
Their Christian themes and chaste romances have been characterized as “sweety-sweet” and not for consumption by today’s more savvy readers. But I don’t regret the hours I spent in their pages. They instilled in me the belief that love truly is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1st Corinthians 13 NASB)
In today’s society, what passes for “love” is often no more than physical gratification with no permanence, no commitment, no thought beyond today’s pleasure. What a sad way to live with nothing lasting to cling to!
I’m not suggesting you run out and buy the books--but I’m not sorry I read them.