I like Emilie Loring precisely because she wrote so many books that I enjoy, each satisfying something a little different at different times. In my twenties, I especially liked Rainbow at Dusk and Where Beauty Dwells. Since taking up writing myself, I’ve found new identification with Give Me One Summer and Beckoning Trails.
I keep thinking about this, because when people ask, “What’s the best Emilie Loring book to read first?” they’re not asking me, “What do you like best?” but rather, “What do you think I’ll like best?”
My niece Jessica is skilled at matching books to people. What that takes is knowing not only a lot about the books but also something about the reader’s interests and current thoughts. If you can’t get enough of Maine, there are books for that, and if you especially love seeing how the wealthy live in their manor homes or what fashions were like in a particular decade, there are books for that, too.
Emilie Loring’s goal was to write stories so “rattling good” that her readers couldn’t put them down. If you want a captivating story, simply close your eyes and pick any of her books. You can’t go wrong.
But different times in our lives seem to call for different kinds of books. I first read Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series during a time in my life when I felt adventurous and free, and wielding a brave parasol seemed like just the thing. When I want that feeling again, back I go to The Mummy Case:
I never meant to marry. In my opinion, a woman born in the last half of the nineteenth century of the Christian era suffered from enough disadvantages without willfully embracing another. That is not to say that I did not occasionally indulge in daydreams of romantic encounters; for I was as sensible as any other female of the visible attractions of the opposite sex. But I never expected to meet a man who was my match, and I had no more desire to dominate a spouse than to be ruled by him. Marriage, in my view, should be a balanced stalemate between equal adversaries.
The Mummy Case (2009)
When times are cozier, I enjoy the gentle amusement of Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford:
“It is very pleasant dining with a bachelor,” said Miss Matty softly, as we settled ourselves in the counting-house. “I only hope it is not improper; so many pleasant things are!”
Emilie Loring gave each of her books a theme, and if the reader is dealing with that theme in real life, maybe it will strike a responsive chord. Below are groupings of the original thirty books by theme. If you’re a longtime Emilie Loring reader, I won’t quibble, if you would group them differently, but if you’re new to Emilie Loring, or if you’re choosing her books as gifts during the holidays, I think you’ll find them useful.
The Trail of Conflict, Here Comes the Sun! A Certain Crossroad, The Solitary Horseman, Gay Courage
Digging deep in the face of terrific challenge:
Overcoming adversity with optimism:
Lighted Windows, Fair Tomorrow, Uncharted Seas, Hilltops Clear, With Banners, We Ride the Gale!
Proving oneself and making good:
It’s A Great World! Give Me One Summer, As Long As I Live, Today Is Yours, High of Heart, There Is Always Love, Bright Skies
Fighting for the right with integrity:
Across the Years, Where Beauty Dwells, Stars In Your Eyes, Rainbow At Dusk, When Hearts Are Light Again, Keepers of the Faith, Beyond the Sound of Guns
Individual spirit, personal meaning:
Beckoning Trails, I Hear Adventure Calling, Love Came Laughing By, To Love and to Honor
Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
I am grateful to you for being part of our community here at The Emilie Loring Collection and on our Facebook page.
If you’re new here, you can start at the beginning with Meet Emilie Loring. See the “Bookshelf” for links to posts for each of Emilie Loring’s books. Use the “Finder” and “Search” functions to get to content you want. You’ll find them at the bottom of each page, if you’re on a mobile device, and in the righthand sidebar, if you’re on a desktop or laptop computer.
4 thoughts on “Different Times Call for Different Books”
Dear Patti, I am so glad to have found your blog! I just finished Lighted Windows which might be my favorite Emilie Loring novel. I first read it in the late 1960’s when I was a freshman in high school and I’m still in love with Bruce Harcourt. Coincidentally, my husband of 39 years is an engineer!
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Welcome, Joan! Lighted Windows is a longtime favorite of mine, too. I love the scene when Bruce comes into the Samp sisters’ cabin and Janice is ignoring him, shopping through seed catalogs. Great dialogue.
Hope to hear from you again!
Hi, Patti! There are only so many plot lines. I admire how you organized them. I have been working through all the books in order, something I have never done, and frankly, not paid attention! I’m reading for the story and the romance. lol
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I look forward to just reading for fun again when the book is done. Just now, I’m still weaving stories with her history and making observations about her body of work. It’s been neat to see how much is there, but I look forward to just grabbing a book and sitting down to read!