HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Daphne Deane
Author: Grace Livingston Hill
Cover Illustrator: Morgan Weistling
Publisher: Tyndale House Pub., 1991
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Teens and adults
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Hill, Grace Livingston. Daphne Deane (published in 1937 by J. B. Lippincott; republished in 1991 bby Tyndale House Publishers Inc., P. O. Box 448, Wheaton, IL 60189). Following the deaths of his parents, Keith Morrell, 23 years old, returns from his job as an architect in New York City, NY, to his hometown of Rosedale to make arrangements for the sale of his family home. While there, he happens to see Daphne Deane, perhaps a year or so younger, who is a former classmate of his in high school but whom he has forgotten. Daphne lives with her father, mother, two younger brothers, and younger sister in the former gardener’s cottage from the Morrell estate which her family had bought from Keith’s father. The two begin to develop feelings for one another, although Keith is practically engaged to another woman, Anne Casper, a New York socialite, and Daphne is being courted by the new, “progressive” minister Drew Addison.
While Keith is away on a business trip, mulling over whether he really wants to sell the old house or not and starting to question his affection for Anne, his less than scrupulous real estate agent, William Knox, promises to sell it to a shady Mr. Bill Gowney, even promising the would-be buyer immediate possession. Mysterious events begin happening in the deserted mansion at nights. Meanwhile, Anne Casper is desperately trying to figure how to get her hooks back into Keith, even conferring with her high-financier father about threatening to have Keith dismissed from his job. When Keith returns from his trip exceptionally late and goes to spend the rest of the night in his old home, he is shot and hangs between life and death. Will he recover? If he does, what will he do about the house, Anne Casper, and his job? What is going on in the house? And what will happen to Daphne Deane?
Even though it is “romance,” I liked this book, which is listed as Book 19 in the Grace Livingston Hill series. The euphemism “gosh” is used a couple of times, but no bad language occurs. There are references to drinking wine, even getting drunk, smoking cigarettes, wearing abbreviated bathing suits, and unfair business practices but these are all done by clearly worldly people and thus discouraged. In contrast, Daphne, her family, and their friends are characterized by deep faith in God, fervent prayer, and regular Bible reading. David Pratte noted in his Family Reading Booklist, “Religious error includ[es] ‘once saved, always saved.’” Aside from this, one can admire Daphne for standing up for her convictions, especially in the face of “Rev.” Addison’s accusations of prudishness, and also appreciate her beneficial influence on Keith’s thinking.