It was fascinating to discover that G.L. Hill's mother was also a published author. I had learned some time before that her aunt Isabella Alden was a popular author, but never knew that her mother wrote as well. Both aunt and mother encouraged Grace to pursue her skills in writing, and proved wonderful, positive critics of her work.
Mr. Munce's biography shares many wonderful anecdotes of their time spent in Florida, G.L. Hill's first marriage proposal, her work at a local Christian college, how she met her husband Frank Hill and her marriage to Frank Hill. Life was often very difficult for G.L. Hill, for instance losing her husband of seven years and her father in short succession.
Munce also describes her unlikely second marriage (which was a bit of a surprise to me!), the building of her beautiful stone house and her mission work with local immigrants. I loved reading the descriptions of her house! The detailed description of the layout and decor were a real treat to the imagination.
After reading Grace Livingston Hill: The Life Story of One of America's Best-Loved Writer's, As Told by Her Grandson I wished that I could have known Grace Livingston Hill personally. She was a caring, hardworking woman with a heart to share the love of Jesus.
I was interested to learn how Mrs. Hill's publishers requested that she remove religious themes from her stories, and she staunchly refused to comply with their demands. The resulting conflict forced her to switch publishers, and as a single mom I am sure that was a difficult step of faith to take! However it was inspiring to see how the Lord to care of her family and how Grace Livingston Hill put Jesus first in her writing. Later in her career she received countless letters telling her how her books had encouraged and inspired soldiers wearied and heartsick after the wars. Many were even led to salvation through her books. What a reward for her unwavering steadfastness!
Karr noted that Mrs. Hill did not go to the movies, but did enjoy listening to the radio. One of her favorite programs was the Kate Smith show. I was also interested to learn that two of Grace Livingston Hill's favorite authors were Kathleen Norris and Temple Bailey, since they happen to be two authors I also enjoy.
To close I thought I would share a couple paragraphs from Grace Livingston Hill: Her Story and Her Writings by Jean Karr.
"She (Mrs.Hill) was always busy- cooking, cleaning, tending the lawn and working in the garden, and sewing for two little girls who were growing very fast. She made all their clothing for them, and there was always the task of letting out seams and lengthening little dresses to make them last a while longer.
As Margaret and Ruth approached school age, their busy mother determined not to send them to school at once, but gave them lessons at home, in the way her parents had taught her as a child. So in between the routine duties of the household, there were classes in reading, writing, spelling, grammar, geography, history, and arithmetic. Mrs. Hill was evidently as good a teacher as she was a housekeeper. She continued to teach the two girls until Margaret was eleven years old and Ruth was eight, at which time they entered the public school." (Page 63)
"Grace Livingston Hill died at the age of eighty-two, on February 23, 1947. Her life span had begun in the troubled Civil War days immediately following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and ended during the period of international confusion and distrust that came as an aftermath of the second great World War and the discovery of the atomic bomb. It was a long way to come, from the days of the horse-and-buggy trips with her minister father to the days of atomic energy and stratoshere flights. It had been in general, a satisfying life, but the world of the 1940's was one in which she didn't feel at home, one which she willingly departed." (page 113)
I hope you have enjoyed this look at these two biographies. They are a wonderful addition to my Grace Livingston Hill book collection. I was touched and inspired by this incredible lady's talent, imagination, fortitude and love for the Lord!