Grace Livingston Hill

Grace Livingston Hill

Only a handful of writers who began over 130 years ago are still read by an ever-increasing family of readers. Grace Livingston Hill is one of those writers.

Her writing is often seen very differently by those who read it—and that's why it endures. It is at times a Christian life lesson, a romance, first-hand history, or even an outreach tool. The impact is as varied as the readers themselves.

No matter how we read Grace's books, they inspire us to reach new heights.books

Grace's work and its simple message continue into a new century, always reminding us that God is the ultimate answer to every question—even in today's complicated world.

Finding Grace's Books

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Grace Livingston Hill Booklist

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O Little Town of Bethlehem - The GLH Connections

Grace Livingston Hill spent most of her adult life in Philadelphia, and she must have dearly loved it. The city and its surroundings play a part in many of her books and those who study them can walk with her characters through the streets and into many of the buildings still standing today.


One of these landmarks is The Church of the Holy Trinity on Rittenhouse Square. This beautiful church was most likely the one "across the square" in The Girl from Montana. O Little Town of Bethlehem has a deep connection to Philadelphia. Rev. Phillips Brooks, who wrote the words to this beloved carol in 1868, pastored The Church of the Holy Trinity at that time. Today, its sanctuary is graced by a lovely mural of the Christmas Story.


Ruth-Glover-Hill-1919-RecitalWe know that Grace attended an evening service there on December 7, 1919. There was an Organ Recital at half-past seven, and the Organist, Mr. Ralph Kinder, was "assisted by" Miss Ruth Glover Hill, Violinist. Ruth was an accomplished and much-sought-after soloist.

As GLH readers know, Grace's favorite hymns are often woven into her storylines. O Little Town of Bethlehem appears many times in both books and short stories like Astra (Chapter 15), The Christmas Bride (Chapter 21), and Something Quite Forgotten (from Miss Lavinia's Call). Did we miss one? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Words by Phillips Brooks, 1867 and Music by Lewis H. Redner, 1868

Click to listen via MIDI ~ Right click to download MIDI

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on earth!

How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv’n;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.

Where children pure and happy pray to the blessèd Child,
Where misery cries out to Thee, Son of the mother mild;
Where charity stands watching and faith holds wide the door,
The dark night wakes, the glory breaks, and Christmas comes once more.

O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!

Grace's "Bethlehems" - A Christmas Tradition

Grace Livingston Hill wrote several Christmas-themed novels and short stories. One of the most common events in those stories are the "Bethlehems" that her characters seem to whip up out of nothing—bits of crepe paper; a noah's ark set; an electric star; and blocks for those little flat-roofed houses with the outside staircases.

There were "chalk-drawing" Bethlehems, too. Grace was skilled at illustrating sermons wth this long-forgotten art. We use all sorts of multimedia presentations today, but our generation didn't invent this stuff—chalk drawings did the same thing and required much more talent than just pasting some clip art into a power point slide!

glh bethlehem400Well, these creations were not works of fiction, as I discovered looking through some of Grace's photo albums. In one of them (it was one of those great old albums with the black paper pages), I turned the page and just stopped. There it was! It was just as she described it, right down to the wooly lambs on the hillside.

I'm not sure exactly where this was taken, but judging from the other photos in the album, it's the porch outside her home in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. A photo of the Christmas tree a few pages away is marked "about 1930".

How many "Bethlehems" are there? I know of a few. Do you know of any I've missed? Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    • "The Story of a Whim" (serial later published in book form, 1903)
    • "Something Quite Forgotten" (1932 - short story in "Miss Lavinia's Call")
    • "The Christmas Bride" (novel, 1934)
    • "The Substitute Guest" (novel, 1936)
    • "Stranger Within the Gates" (novel, 1939)
    • "Astra" (novel, 1941)

The Last Book on the List

Where Two Ways Met  DEC 2014

Where Two Ways Met
, published in 1946, is our December book and THE LAST BOOK on the GLHill Yahoo Group Reading List. Our online book group has been reading through the list of GLH books since 2007 (Marigold started us off) and this one finishes the pleasant task!

From the G&D jacket flap: When Paige Madison returns to his hometown after years in a soldier's uniform, he considers himself lucky to land a good job with Harris Chalmers...but he soon finds himself confronted by problems that threaten to undermine his faith in human nature and his own standards of right conduct. [He] finds strength in the friendship of June Culbertson. Together, they work to correct the injustices caused by Chalmers.

Each month, Yahoo Group GLHill members read one of Grace's books and talk about it online. Want to join the discussion? Enter your email below & click "Join Now".

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GLH Christmas Reads

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Astra and The Substitute Guest
The definitive GLH Christmas Books!

Books with Christmas scenes in them:

  • April Gold
  • Brentwood
  • Bright Arrows
  • The Christmas Bride
  • The City of Fire
  • The Girl from Montana
  • Partners
  • The Prodigal Girl
  • The Story of a Whim
  • Stranger Within the Gates
  • The Tryst

  • The Witness

Short Stories:

  • And There Were Shepherds
  • The Best Birthday
  • The Forgotten Friend
  • Some Carols for The Lord
  • A King to Rule
  • Something Quite Forgotten
  • Star of Wonder
  • The Story of the Lost Star
  • Under the Window

2014 GLH Reading List

  • January: The Esselstynes & The Angel of His Presence
  • February: A Chautauqua Idyl & The Parkerstown Delegate
  • March: The Chance of a Lifetime
  • April: In the Way
  • May: Sunrise
  • June: In Tune with Wedding Bells
  • July: Ladybird
  • August: The Sound of the Trumpet
  • September: Dawn of the Morning
  • October: Through These Fires
  • November: All Through the Night
  • December: Where Two Ways Met & Your Favorite GLH Christmas Book!
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