Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Beauty for Ashes

This past week I finished reading “Beauty for Ashes” by Grace Livingston Hill. Reading this book was like taking a mini vacation to the beautiful country village of Afton, Maine; where neat white houses line the country lanes, the aroma of freshly baked bread mingles with the crisp fragrance of pine trees and where people are friendly and have old-fashioned values.

Now this story begins in a quite different setting. The tale opens with the lovely young heroine of the story, Gloria, skipping down the steps of her family’s palatial New York mansion to the sewing room where the seamstress is making the last alterations to the gowns meant to be part of her elaborate trousseau. It is at this time that she discovers the tragic news that her fiancé Stan has been murdered, but it is the circumstances surrounding his murder that makes the situation all the more unbearable.

After the funeral and formalities are over Gloria’s father decides to take her away for a while; to a place that is peaceful, and where newspapers will not want to snap her photo and exploit her grief. The refuge her father takes her to is his home town of Afton, Maine. Gloria is filled with delight upon seeing the large old white farm house where her father grew up. She is filled with wonder as her father speaks of the faith he was raised in and she develops a great interest to know of the deceased grandmother she never met but whose legacy seems to fill her father’s boyhood home.

During her stay in Afton Gloria is able to collect her thoughts, enjoy God’s glorious creation, and she also meets a new friend who challenges the way she views life.

Adventures ensue when Gloria’s father is called away on business and her sister Vanna comes to keep her company. Vanna has trials of her own to overcome and faith to discover. These two sisters discover the pleasure of simply living, the joy of salvation and the meaning of true love.

For all who love a love story with plenty of drama and Christ centered faith I am sure “Beauty for Ashes” is a book you will not want to pass by! : )

What books have you been enjoying this summer?


  1. We LOVE Grace Livingston Hill!! She wrote such sweet stories and we loved how old fashioned they are. It has been a long time since I read Beauty for Ashes. You are inspiring me!

  2. P.S. That is a beautiful copy! Wonderful dust cover.

    1. Thank you Heide! I have been a fan of Grace Livingston Hill for quite a while now. I have a bit of a mania for collecting her books with the original dust jackets. Quite often I will find them at book sales or antique shops. They are such fun stories! I have always thought that her books were a lot like old movies. Have you ever read "The White Flower"? It is hard for me to choose a favorite, but I would have to say "The White Flower" is my favorite. Which Grace Livingston Hill book is your favorite?