Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A Grace Livingston Hill Reading List: Home Makeover Edition



Oh Grace Livingston Hill, you make me think I can do anything! And that's why I'm upholstering two sofas at once, while simultaneously renovating the upstairs, sewing for a wedding, and planning a dinner party. For inspiration:


Not Under the Law. Joyce finds herself out on her own and buys herself a tiny land office! It's an empty shell, but she turns it into a one-room home complete with kitchen cupboards, curtains, and a hand-made mattress for the bed.

The Honor Girl. Elsie turns the wreck of her father's house upside down with her industry. From pot roast and pumpkin pies and new floral eiderdowns on the bed,  to a new fireplace and chrysanthemums in season, she cranks up the domestic goodness.

The White Lady. Constance has lost her money and position, and decides to go into the restaurant business. Finding a decrepit mansion at a great price, she gives it new life with artistic wallpaper, potted palms, and dreamy mirrors. And the table d'hote menu sounds delicious.

April Gold. Assets lost to a bank crash, the Reeds move to a spider-infested shack in the worst part of town. But they scrub and paint and paper and build shelves and even haul the old henhouse across the yard to add on new kitchen space. And their bare yard is transformed by forsythia and daffodils.

Re-Creations. Domestic transformation begins, ends, and informs this one: when Cornelia leaves college before she can complete her degree in interior design, she finds plenty of opportunity to put her theories into practice at home. Before she knows it she's painting the dining room a soft green, designing a fireplace to be build out of fieldstone, making a marble-topped work table for the kitchen, and stenciling birds onto curtains.

14 comments:

Lisa said...

I think you *can* do anything, Anna. Either that, or you're a maniac. ;)

Lisateresa

Rebecca said...

How I adored those books! I'm re-reading L.M. Montgomery's Rilla of Ingleside at present. Perhaps I shall turn to G.L. Hill when I'm finished. I never noticed the improvements the Hill heroines made to their environs as much as I relished the descriptions of their thrifty wardrobe finds.

Sarah said...

I love Grace Livingston Hill's books! They are definitely an inspiration to the homemaker.

Melissa said...

Of course you can, with all of your daughters to help you (including their cooking skills to relieve you of that duty sometimes)! Can't wait to see your glimpses of the transformations.

Eileen said...

Yes, you read her books and think about how your home could be perfect with a little effort:)
You have me hooked on GLH. My Kindle is filled with her!!

Polly said...

I LOVE reading The Honor Girl and Re-Creations to get myself pumped up for some Major Domestic Work--kind of like, I guess, the way they play crazy music before a football game. Thank you for the other recommendations...I will try to keep my eyes open for them during the thrift store runs!

Farrah said...

I also like how the children in The Enchanted Barn, my favorite GLH novel, turn it into a home.

seashoreknits said...

Love them all -
Loved GLH from girlhood.
And while I revel in all the domestic and wardrobe renewals, it is the constant examples of modesty, simplicity and holiness that permeate her novels that draw me to them again and again.
Thanks for the list, Anna, and best wishes for the upholstering! Can't wait to see the results.

Anonymous said...

I have "The Honor Girl" in a hardback edition, and it is one of my favorite books! I've read it multiple times. Thanks for sharing more from G.L. Hill.

Kathy F.

Lisa said...

I don't need to read GLH - your blog has that same effect on me, making me think I can do everything. (except that I can't, but it's good to have someone before you who's doing it better than you are.) :)

jenny_o said...

Ha - I was thinking the same thing that Lisa wrote ... you are motivating others even as you are motivated by someone else :) Good luck with all those concurrent projects!

Sallie said...

That list includes many of my favorite Grace books. I love the cozy, roll up your sleeves and get something done to transform a home theme. I'm reading "April Gold" right now. :-)

There is a Facebook group of Grace lovers if anyone is interested. Just search "Grace Livingston Hill" and you should see it.

Marlaine said...

I love your Grace Livingston Hill references. She's a long-time fave! Looking forward to pics of your project completions!

Amy said...

"A Daily Rate" is another good one for home inspiration, especially the character of Molly Poppleton.

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