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The Enchanted Barn Paperback – September 5, 2016
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About the Author
Grace Livingston Hill (April 16, 1865 — 1947) was an early 20th-century novelist and wrote both under her real name and the pseudonym Marcia Macdonald. She wrote over 100 novels and numerous short stories. Her characters were most often young female Christian women or those who become so within the confines of the story.
Grace Livingston Hill was born in Wellsville, New York to Presbyterian minister Charles Montgomery Livingston and his wife, Marcia Macdonald Livingston - both of them being writers. So was her aunt Isabella Macdonald Alden, who wrote under her pseudonym Pansy and for whom Grace Livingston Hill later finished her autobiographical last book.
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Shirley Hollister has only a few weeks to find a new home for her family, her mother is ill and cannot help her and she and her brother bear the main financial burden for her mother, 2 sisters and younger brother. Money is very scarce and they can only afford $15.00 per month in rent. On an unexpected afternoon off she takes a trolley to look for a new home and overhears a conversation about a barn that they pass. It's stone, and looks very stable and Shirley immediately wonders if she could rent it for the summer, so they could save money and give her mother the fresh air she needs so much to hasten her healing. Making a quick tour of the old building, Shirley's hopes are high that they could make the move work for a few months.
After meeting with the owners son, Sidney Graham, Shirley waits to hear if she can rent the barn and is elated to find that Mr. Graham has become the owner and he is willing to rent it and insists on some modifications to make it more livable.
This is a classic romance with a modest hard working young Christian woman who is making the best of a life she never expected to live. You will enjoy this story and you will imagine how a barn can become a home for a family who needs so much.
This is a sweet story of two remarkable families and how their lives become connected. Too much of the story is told rather than shown, and there is a lot of description, but the story is still interesting. There were a few minor mistakes. "Kelp" for "help" and "toe" for "to" were probably scanning problems. It also read, "The doctor was deeply interest in the barn." I doubted if a wealthy businessman would just happen to have a flashlight in his pocket. It seemed a little strange that a four-year-old girl would always sleep in a crib. At one point, it says George smiled a welcome to Elizabeth, but a little later they had to swing by and pick George up from his work. And, I smiled at the thirty-bedroom cottage. Yet, I did like the novel.
I still find this book a relaxing escape. The people are good to know, and I admit freely the great stone barn plays out one of my long time fantasies. The proselytizing is palatable, less tediously preachy than many of Mrs. Hill's other works.
It's a time and place I enjoy visiting every time. For a relaxing escape from the modern rush and a happy ending, you can't beat it. It's a mini-vacation and it's free. Who could ask for more?