Book Review: “Amorelle” by Grace Livingston Hill

Thursday, October 21st, 2010 at 7:57 am

It’s funny how perspective changes preferences.

I remember reading Grace Livingstone Hill when I was a pre-teen and loving the homemaking ingenuity of her characters. I enjoyed the old-fashioned romance of her once-contemporary novels.

By my late teens, I had definitely developed a bias against Hill. I considered her a writer of pablum, meaningless, bland, run-of-the-mill Christian fiction.

And now I’m reading her again–partly because I’ve read a few bloggers who spoke of their admiration for Hill and partly because she’s at my library and is an easy read.

I hadn’t read Amorelle during my earlier years–so I can’t compare my thoughts on this specific title from then to now–but I can make some observations.

Amorelle goes to stay with her worldly aunt, uncle, and cousin after her pastor father dies, leaving her homeless. Her aunt and cousin quickly consign her to the status of household help. She excels in this role, creating delicious little snacks and doing pretty handwork. Yep, just what I remember from my earlier days–homemaking ingenuity.

Amorelle’s old-fashioned Christianity (with its certain social taboos) contrasts sharply with her cousin’s brash worldliness. Louise is loud and scheming. She calls her mother by her first name and pettishly insists on her own way. Amorelle, on the other hand, is sweet, acquiescent, and courteous.

So is Amorelle meaningless, bland, run-of-the-mill Christian fiction, as I would have said in my late teens?

That’s what I’m not so sure about any more. Certainly, Amorelle is not top-tier fiction. It’s not likely to win any literary awards. But there is a depth to this novel and an almost natural quality with which faith is woven into the storyline.

Amorelle is swept off her feet by a young member of Louise’s set, a handsome business-like fellow who is nevertheless quite taken with Amorelle. Almost without realizing it, Amorelle finds herself engaged to George. But the moment their engagement is announced she starts to wonder whether this decision was wise.

Is George really the right man for her? Do they have that unity of heart and soul that Amorelle’s parents seemed to have? Is Amorelle in love with George? Or is she really just in love with being in love? Amorelle must learn to lean on the Lord’s wisdom to guide her through these difficult questions.

Like I said, Hill isn’t likely to win any literary awards for her writing–but I did find Amorelle to be a nice, comfortable read. It isn’t meaty enough for a main course, but neither is it the meaningless fluff of a dessert. It’s a salad book, a nice, nutritious break from meat and potatoes reading.


Rating: 3 stars
Category: Christian Romance
Synopsis: After the death of her pastor father, Amorelle moves in with her relatives–and shortly finds herself engaged to a dashing young businessman. But is George really the right man for her?
Recommendation: This isn’t spectacular reading, but it’s a nice, medium-weight novel for relaxing on a lazy day.


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Reader Comments (2):

  1. Well, you definitely surprised me with THIS one! =D I wouldn’t have guessed.

    Interesting how you call it a salad book – a nice break. Which, I suppose, makes sense.

  2. Barbara H. says:

    I can’t remember if I have ever real any of her books — I may have read one or two as a teen. I’ve heard both views you mentioned, and I’m glad to hear she’s not at either extreme.

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