Get ready to be inspired. Congratulations to “Peggy in Illinois” for her winning essay!
As a child, I was not much of a reader. Today, I can’t go anywhere without a book in my bag. I first started reading chapter books in high school. I then started bicycling a few miles to the library where I discovered Emilie Loring books. After that first one, I had to go back to find the next Emilie Loring book. Until I had read all her books that the library possessed.
I embraced Emilie Loring and the world of adventure she presented in her books at a time when my family life was in turmoil, as I was completing high school. I am confident that I read The Solitary Horseman first. Here was a world in which the main characters lived by “ideas and ideals” they held dear. And there was a mystery! There was action! Romance! Emilie’s views of clean living and integrity shone through as an inspirational way of life.
Emilie and her characters helped me through tough times in life. Her books became so important to me that I sought to obtain all 50 books attributed to Emilie Loring. It was about a decade later when I purchased the last book, one which I had never found at a library: Beyond the Sound of Guns.
INDUSTRIOUS and ACCOMPLISHED WOMEN
Young women in Emilie’s early 20th century world were full of adventure and spirit. They were competent and independent. No, they were not today’s feminists who deplore marriage and men. Emilie Loring recognized the partnership between men and women.
Emilie Loring’s heroines were educated and often held vital positions, however traditional in our view; the ladies were quite competent in whatever work they undertook and vital to their bosses’ success. Some ladies had their own businesses as gardeners, jewelry-makers, or farmers.
The heroes in Emilie Loring’s novels were similarly industrious, and the women could depend upon them. They were not improbable supermen, but certainly worthy men of many desirable traits and integrity, usually well-heeled and good-looking to boot. Not a bad deal.
Emilie Loring’s messages about faith, personal integrity, marriage and country were well-represented in her novels. Emilie Loring’s books and characters inspired adventure and industry, as well as loyalty and determination. Though times and society have changed, we can appreciate the world of Emilie Loring—for it was real and has basis in history. We don’t have to be teetotalers, but we can respect those around us today.
Through reading Emilie Loring over and over, I have been inspired to live with integrity, to look for the best in others, and to lighten up once in a while. Things were not all serious in Emilie’s world. Emilie Loring gave her characters a good sense of humor. They engaged in sometimes hilarious banter and misunderstandings. Some side characters provided great moments of humor in Emilie’s novels. I learned from Emilie that we benefit greatly from a sense of humor in navigating the rough patches of life.
ADVENTURE and GOALS
I have been inspired to reach for goals, to become competent and informed, and to go out and make life happen. I studied for years in undergraduate and graduate programs, and one day my ship came in. I was specifically inspired to work one day in Washington, D.C. as a result of reading It’s a Great World, Keepers of the Faith, and Love Came Laughing By. Emilie Loring included several monuments and historic sites as backgrounds for scenes and plots in these novels. As I moved out east, my boxes included my collection of all 50 Emilie Loring paperbacks.
The Mayflower Hotel was prominent in Keepers of the Faith for instance, where Nancy Barton and Major Bill Jerrold met for tea and were amazed to see the suspected spy, Francois Bouvier, with their boss and the other redhead—Suzanne Dupree. It was with great excitement that I entered the Mayflower for the first time. I was in the tearoom where Nancy and Bill had tea! I walked past the Mayflower many times going from meeting to meeting thinking of those scenes that took place within. [Click here to read Peggy’s guest post on the Mayflower Hotel.] Many sites valued for their historic value to our nation were even more interesting as I saw them through the eyes of Emilie Loring’s heroines.
HOPE and FAITH
One of the significant slogans in Emilie Loring’s novels was uttered first by Doc Rand in The Trail of Conflict: “Things have a marvelous, unbelievable way of coming right.” What a message of hope and optimism! Great for a young woman embarking on a journey not well traveled in her family.
I can’t help but to contrast her optimism and hope with the despair and hopelessness contained in F Scott Fitzgerald’s novels from the same time period (1920s-1930s). Both Loring’s and Fitzgerald’s characters were in the upper classes and experienced tragedies involving infidelity, divorce, bankruptcy, and alcoholism.
While Fitzgerald’s characters lived pointless lives and could never crawl out of the pit into which they dug themselves, Loring’s books included major characters with purpose in a privileged life. Those with problems had hope and often made sincere and successful efforts to mend their ways. Good could be salvaged from tragedy. Characters could and would go on in life making the best of what had come to pass in Emilie’s books. In dark and despairing contrast, Fitzgerald’s characters remained embittered at their fate, usually caused by their own poor decisions. The Fitzgerald novels I read left me depressed. I think Emilie should be studied alongside Fitzgerald, or perhaps instead, given the hope and redemption she provides.
KNOWLEDGE of HISTORY
As an adult, I have histories, biographies and fiction that tell us something important about the world. My readings have only scraped the surface of such literature. And, though I have enjoyed a variety of fiction, I always came back to Emilie Loring as my personal favorite. Her books are not too naïve or idealistic for a grown woman. She was no inexperienced girl when she wrote them. She knew a great deal about life and love and the world tragedies that may touch any of us.
Emilie Loring’s maturity and wisdom about the world shone through. Her novels were not mere romances. There was a higher purpose at stake in each novel. Usually, the heroine and hero would work together to solve a mystery or crime, sometimes with great importance to our nation. We often learned Emilie’s views on matters such as bootlegging and lawlessness, free enterprise, freedom, the labor movement, war and other matters of worldly importance. Her novels covered the years between the wars and World War II. I didn’t understand it all in my youth.
As I matured and became informed about the world and those matters, I’ve become more aware of Emilie’s perspective on them. I can’t say what she’d think about all events of our day. We should extrapolate with caution. Rather, her books should be studied for their historical value of social norms and the effects of the world events upon people of her era.
As I go forward, in addition to finding personal inspiration, I find the decades between the wars about which Emilie wrote very interesting. The events of those years often provided a premise for the mystery or adventure upon which the novel would be centered. From simple reading pleasure, to inspiration and hope in my personal life, to inspiring my study of an era in history, the influence on my life from Emilie Loring and her writings has expanded over time. She has meant so much to my life. I am pleased to have found Patti’s site which celebrates Emilie’s work. For all of this enrichment to my life, I am grateful.
For her prize, Peggy has chosen Keepers of the Faith and Gay Courage. They will be headed her way soon. Thanks, Peggy, for sharing your insight and enthusiasm!