Do you remember Grace Livingston Hill?

As long as I can remember, I have been an avid reader. I started school at age four and from the beginning, I loved books.
My mother was wonderful about fostering my interest in reading. When I came home from high school, I often went to my upstairs bedroom and read. And when she would call me to set the supper table, all I had to say to be excused was, “I’m reading.”
And I often said that because I was engrossed in one of Grace Livingston Hill’s book. I couldn’t possibly put it down.
Years later when I went to my 50th high school reunion, we toured my high school—Lowville Free Academy. Seeing the three-story building for the first time since graduation was a very nostalgic experience.
I stood in the back of the auditorium and dreamt about sitting in assemblies and walking down the aisle at graduation. I went to my homeroom and saw Miss Foley in front of the class.
But the most nostalgic room of all was the library. I pictured myself as a teenager sitting at the well-built library table reading a book by Grace Livingston Hill.
Like many girls of that time, I read every book of hers that I could find.
Grace Livingston Hill was born into a Presbyterian minister’s family in 1865—just two days after President Lincoln was shot. Both of Grace’s parents were writers. And her favorite aunt, Isabella Macdonald Alden, was a prominent 19th century author, with 100 popular books to her name.
Grace was a good story-teller, and Isabella encouraged her niece to use her talent. But what truly motivated Grace to publish her first book was a heart-felt goal.
When Grace was growing up, the family lived in New York state and went to nearby Chautauqua Lake for vacation. Unfortunately, her father later was transferred to Florida and they couldn’t afford such a long and expensive trip on a pastor’s salary.
So Grace wrote a book about her earlier Chautauqua experiences, “The Chautauqua Idyl.”
She made enough money to finance the family’s trip and she was a celebrity at the conference. One of the contacts she made that summer was her future husband Frank Hill, a Presbyterian minister like her father.
Grace had seven wonderful years with Frank before he died of appendicitis—a very serious affliction in the late 1800s. Her mother was widowed the same year. Both women had to leave the parsonages where they resided and were without any means of making a living.
But Grace was up to the difficult challenge. With a goal of providing for her mother and her two children, she bought an upright Remington typewriter and began writing in earnest. And in spite of many setbacks in life, she persevered.
As a result, generations of readers have been able to enjoy the simple, upbeat stories she wrote.
Grace Livingston Hill books particularly are enjoyed by senior readers. Almost 50 of her 100 books have been reprinted in large print, with new publications still coming out every year or two.
So, sometime when you have a few hours just for yourself, check out a Grace Livingstone Hill book from your local library. Then relax in your easy chair and spend some nostalgic moments visiting a simpler time.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at or visit

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