HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Beauty for Ashes
Author: Grace Livingston Hill
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, republished in 1996
Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)
Reading level: Teens (primarily girls) and adults
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
For more information e-mail email@example.com
Hill, Grace Livingston. Beauty for Ashes (published in 1935 by Grosset and Dunlap Publishers, New York City, NY). Grace Livingston Hill is one of my wife Karen’s favorite authors. She wrote what would be called "Christian romance" but it is certainly nothing like the trashy, tawdry, almost pornographic books euphemistically called "romance" today. In this one, Gloria Sutherland had been raised in a very wealthy household and was engaged to her neighbor, Stan Asher, but just a week before the wedding he and a one-night-fling were shot to death by the girl’s jealous boyfriend. Gloria’s father takes her to his hometown to recover from the shock.
After her sister Evangeline (Vanna) joins her, being sent by her mother in an attempt to get Gloria to return home, they fall in love with a couple of neighborhood young men who are also very religious and lead the two girls to the Lord. Most of us guys don’t "do romance," but this book is more than just a "love story." There are some excitement and adventure as Vanna is pursued by her "ladies’ man" boyfriend, who in essence kidnaps her and thereby helps her to see the vanity of her former lifestyle, and from whom she must escape. I enjoyed the book. The plot is well organized, and the style of writing makes it hard to put down. Some typical denominational terms and practices appear (calling the preacher "pastor," using instrumental music in worship, and salvation by "accepting the Lord as personal Savior").
I would not recommend the book for someone young or weak in the faith, but it should be an interesting and beneficial story for those who are well grounded in the truth. Dave Pratte in Family Reading Booklist gave this a three-star (very good) rating and said, "A young woman learns to face the tragedy of the death of her fiance shortly before their wedding. Shows the advantages of an honorable life rather than high society. Rebukes drinking and smoking. Encourages faith in God, but teaches denominational concepts of salvation and premillennialism." I somehow missed the premillennialism. Karen did say that in some of Hill’s later books there is a little bad language.