Today, we hear from Debbie, who has recently discovered Emilie Loring.
I’m a book addict to begin with, and when I find an author I can read repeatedly without getting bored, then I know I’m hooked for life! I first learned of Emilie Loring’s books from a Facebook fan page for author Grace Livingston Hill. Having read nearly all of Hill’s books, I was keen to try a new author who was similar and wrote during the same time period. One of my first Loring books (two years ago) was a lucky find at an antique mall booth; In Times like These is the one that hooked me, and I began a search to find more.
That search finally led me online, and that’s where I struck it rich, so to speak. Last fall, I placed a winning bid for a lot of 46 Emilie Loring books. Since then, I have spent much of my spare time reading one after another, in fairly rapid succession. With most of my favorite authors, I always have some books I like and some I’m not crazy about, but I truly have enjoyed every one of Emilie’s books I have read so far.
So, what is it about Emilie Loring’s books that have made me an overnight fan? I’ve come up with a list of reasons why I can’t get enough of her books and will probably read them and reread them for years to come.
1. The love stories are passionate and beautiful without the sex scenes so many modern romance authors feel are necessary. This is a huge plus in my mind. Couples in Loring’s books never do more than kiss (even if some of the kisses are “crushing”); their moral standards are high. Though divorce is often mentioned and even considered, the sanctity of marriage always comes out on top, at least with the main characters. I like what Brooke’s mother writes in With Banners:
“This is a decade of political experimentation, of radical ideas and impossible plans, but marriage won’t bear much tinkering. In spite of the broad and shining target it offers to the cynics, it has brought out more nobility of character and selfless devotion than any other human institution….Give me the girl who proclaims herself as something better than one of a herd by holding some of these dangerous trends in check; whose roots of integrity and honor and faithfulness to her man go too deep to be stirred by passing fancies after marriage.”
2. That brings me to values. Patriotism, loyalty, honesty, and courage are strongly emphasized. The heroes are just…real. They love fiercely, yet they always treat women honorably. They never fail to live up to my idea of what a real man ought to be. The old-fashioned roles of men and women are highly valued, yet the heroines in these stories are independent, hard-working, often sassy, and optimistic, even in trying times. In my mind, these women are wonderful role models. I fully intend to talk my two daughters into reading Emilie’s books when they’re older!
3. The plots are always exciting, and the characters are multidimensional. Even though romance is the focus of Loring’s stories, each book contains plenty of exciting action, danger, and even mystery. Yet, the characters remain real; they are never flat. You feel their emotions when they are faced with conflicts, hurts, or even joys. The main characters have faults, make mistakes, speak words they regret, and can be stubborn; yet, they always strive to do what’s right, and they are completely likeable.
4. I absolutely love the era the stories are set in. Several take place during the World War II era, and the rest are set either before or after. I love the period slang so much that I may be tempted to use some of it one of these days. Some recurring phrases are: “Don’t be so wooden,” “caveman tactics,” and “We’ll take that up later.” I could list page after page of these if I had more time!
5. While many of Loring’s stories take place in New England or Washington, D.C., she doesn’t stick firmly to those locations. So far, I’ve travelled to Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, and England in her books, and her descriptions of those places make me feel as if I’m there with her characters. My favorite of those is High of Heart, which mostly takes place in England. The fact is, I lived in England for nearly 11 ½ years and only recently moved back to the US with my family. As National Trust members, we were able to visit many grand, old mansions and castles, as well as gorgeous landscapes, exciting cities, and quaint villages. I truly left a piece of my heart in England! Reading High of Heart really took me back.
6. The descriptions are amazing. Often when I read novels, I tend to skim quickly over descriptions to get to the plot. Emilie’s portrayals of people, places, and objects (especially flowers) paint such striking pictures that I just can’t skim over them. Beautifully-written metaphors, similes, and personification abound. Here’s an example from High of Heart, set in England.
Above her the historic house wrought of limestone and granite reared massive turrets slitted by narrow windows, which frowned like battlements against the turquoise and white of an April sky. Round and round the tallest towers, ivy-covered to their finials, rooks were circling. Below her lay the gardens. The warm sun sucked the breath from the box hedges till it scented the air. The yellow centers of narcissus in the white flower border shone like gold coins. A fountain shot up thousands of glittering diamond drops to shimmer down into a glinting sapphire pool.
Here’s another description from With Banners:
The sky was like a huge sapphire; the sunshine was rose-tinted; the ocean a tumbling mass of emeralds. A fragrant breeze, a mere suggestion of a breeze, ruffled the bright orange flame-vine on top of the high Spanish wall which enclosed three sides of a garden open to the sea, a garden filled with tables set in gay borders which were filmy frocks; there were faces above the tables, faces under large hats and men’s faces with no hats at all.
7. I love the conversations between characters. Full of deep feeling, humor, and even light sarcasm, you not only grasp the story from the conversations, but you also get to know their personalities, their dreams, and their emotions.
Choosing one favorite is very difficult, but I have managed to narrow my favorite Emilie Loring books down to ten…so far! I have only read 28 of her 50 books, so my list has plenty of time to change. Here are my top ten picks (in no particular order):
- In Times Like These
- We Ride the Gale!
- My Dearest Love
- Give Me One Summer
- Keepers of the Faith
- Uncharted Seas
- Across the Years
- There is Always Love
- High of Heart
- With Banners
I haven’t read one of Emilie Loring’s books that I disliked, but I do have a few minor complaints. One thing that irritates me is those stories which feature an heiress losing her fortune to a relative or guardian, and it never gets resolved! I understand the point that wealth isn’t the most important thing in life, and the heroines always marry someone with enough money; but, my sense of justice rages against the evil people who get away with cheating and stealing from those they’re supposed to protect. Then, there’s Follow Your Heart where the heroine’s guardian gets away scot-free after repeatedly attempting to kill her. Yeah. Even with these little gripes, I still love every one of Emilie’s stories.
As Long as I Live is next on my list. Happy reading!
Thanks to Patti for inviting me to guest post for her and also for sending me one of Emilie’s books that I was missing!
And thanks to Debbie for showing how easy it is to discover and enjoy Emilie Loring’s stories. Remember, you can find all of Emilie Loring’s book titles and links to posts about them on the “Bookshelf” tab at the top of this page.