How Can the Heart Forget?

Absorbing and fun

How Can the Heart Forget was the first Emilie Loring book I read, and I’ve been a little nervous to write about it here, because it’s one of the partially ghostwritten books. As a group, they represent Emilie poorly, because, simply, she didn’t write them. But this one is special to me. It was the one that started me on the long relationship with her books. What if it suffered on new reading?

Luckily, that wasn’t the case. The story is both absorbing and fun, with plenty of recognizable, Emilie Loring qualities.

How Can the Heart Forget is the sum of three unpublished stories stitched together with additional prose by Elinore Deniston. I haven’t given it a thorough analysis, but it seems to be better than seventy percent Emilie Loring.

Some portions are striking in their similarity to the “100% Emilie” books. Emilie Loring borrowed from her unpublished stories when she wrote her novels, and Miss Denniston may have borrowed from the same sources without recognizing the duplication.

Cadell edition of Scott

She smiled as her eyes rested on the Cadell edition of Scott.  How she had revelled in the stories in those small volumes.  Every valiant knight had been Tony.  Every lovely lady in distress had been her mother.

The Solitary Horseman (1927)

Even in the darkness she could have laid her hand directly on the elaborately bound volumes of Sir Walter Scott. How she once reveled in his stately romances. Every lovely lady in distress became Ann Jerome, and every valiant knight was Myles Langdon galloping to her rescue.

How Can the Heart Forget (1960)
1960 original cover

How Can the Heart Forget was based on “Home is the Fighter,” “Most Men Like Blue,” and “Tonight at 12.” I haven’t read these stories, but Emilie wrote a flurry of them in the aftermath of World War I. I’m guessing that Myles Langdon’s return was borrowed from “Home is the Fighter,” updating a soldier’s return to an engineer’s. His injured arm, which recovers when he saves Ann from pitching into a ravine in a wrecked vehicle, is very much like Dick Marlowe’s in Beyond the Sound of Guns, which recovers when he saves Sally Carter from a runaway horse.

It’s easy to see contributions from “Most Men Like Blue:”

“That’s a mighty attractive proposition. The blue dress and the matching what-cha-call-it ribbon on your hair are a masterpiece of harmony–almost as blue as your eyes! My favorite color.”

“Most men like blue. A handy thing for a girl to know.”

“Sort of a hunting costume, is it?” He laughed softly at her indignant denial. “All right, but I did hope you wore it just to enchant me.”

How Can the Heart Forget

Henry’s “snappy sports car” is even blue.

“Like it?” Henry asked. “It’s a nice blue, I think. As you said, ‘Most men like blue.’ Say, wouldn’t you in your snappy outfit look swell in it!”

How Can the Heart Forget

He leaned forward, elbow on the desk, to inspect her. “Ann Jerome, you are a sight for sore eyes at any time, but in that–that cornflower-blue suit and perky hat you–you look delectable!”

… “Imagine a mere man knowing the name of this color!” she murmured. “Another proof that men like blue!”

How Can the Heart Forget
“Blue is for girls.”

Just a little aside: Did you know that blue was for girls and pink for boys in earlier days? Bold red was often used for military uniforms, and its pastel shade retained the association. Smithsonian Magazine (2011) quoted a June 1918 article from Earnshaw’s Infants’ Department that explained, “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.” Remember this description from Uncharted Seas?

Philippe Rousseau, in pink evening dress differing a little in cut from that worn by Nicholas Hoyt, stopped on the threshold… It was a marvelous ball.  Lovely ladies in gorgeous frocks; a tropical setting of palms and ferns and shrubs in every conceivable shade of green for a background; men in hunt pink…

Uncharted Seas
“American Beauty” rose

“American Beauty” roses make an appearance in How Can the Heart Forget–another sign that you are reading an Emilie Loring portion. Introduced when Emilie was in her teens, the rose was fabulously expensive–two dollars per stem and fifty dollars for a hand bouquet. Large, deep pink, and fragrant, it was the best-selling rose well into the 1920s, a specialty of the florist’s stand on the corner of Tremont & Beacon in Boston (remember the scene at the beginning of With Banners?). It was also adopted as the official rose of Washington, D.C.

The glass of the picture window reflected her white sports suit and the American Beauty hue of her cardigan…

How Can the Heart Forget

(Don’t be fooled by the hybrid tea, “Miss All American Beauty;” it’s not the same.)

You can tell you’re not reading an Emilie Loring portion, though, when Ann receives a bouquet of roses from Henry Little and comments only on their number, not a hint of color anywhere.

Ann snapped the string, lifted the cover and parted the green tissue paper. “Roses–the lovely things! Goodness though–six, twelve–why, there must be two dozen of them! Who in the world–?”

… “There’s too many for a single vase.” Sarah caressed the brilliant petals. “Real pretty, aren’t they! Never seen so many in one bouquet; your Pa’d have a fit if somebody picked that many out of his garden. Real pretty, though.”

How Can the Heart Forget

The stitches show in Elinore Denniston’s “seams,” but taken as a whole, How Can the Heart Forget shows the strength of Emilie Loring’s original creations. Download a copy and see for yourself.


“‘Tis not to be improved”

Friends, a dear and honorable soul has left this world since last I wrote. I need to give myself a little time before writing about “Captain Bob” Slaven, whose contributions to me and to Emilie Loring’s biography have been so significant. For now, I’ll leave you with this photo of the “Sleeping Giant” from the shore of Bob’s Blue Hill property and this quote from the start of Here Comes the Sun!

“The sense of the world is short, –

Long and various the report,-

To love and be beloved;

Men and gods have not outlearned it;

And, how oft soe’er they’ve turned it,

‘Tis not to be improved.”

                                    Ralph Waldo Emerson


Happy Holidays and Happy Landings!


19 thoughts on “How Can the Heart Forget?

  1. “Hunt pinks” actually refers to the red coats traditionally worn by fox hunters.

    This book contains a portion of conversation that is word-for-word in one of the earlier books, although I can never remember which one until I run across it again. It’s something about someone’s eyes burrowing(?) into one’s heart and burning there. The other person (Ann, in this case), responds, “It sounds uncomfortable.” The reply is, “You’re darn tootin’ it is, until the other person reciprocates.” My collection is packed at the moment, so I can’t go look it up. Sigh…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s Tim Grant and Deborah Randall in Beckoning Trails: “Don’t know what it feels like to see a face that sends the blood pounding through your veins, your heart racing its engine, meet eyes that plunge into your soul and glow there, do you?” His husky voice tightened her throat. In an effort to relieve the tension she said lightly: “No. Frankly, it sounds terribly uncomfortable.” “You’re darn tootin’ it is until the other person reciprocates—then it could be—heaven. Better try it.”

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  2. Merry Christmas and Best wishes for a Happy (Better!) New Year and 2021 to you Patti and all Emilie Loring readers!

    We seem to be a small community with such a great wonderful secret to share with the world!

    Yes, Patti, thank you for keeping Emilie’s light shining to give us hope and strength in these troubled times!

    Happy Landings to all!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A hearty Happy New Year to you! I am so happy to be part of this community—and a community we are, in such heartwarming ways. Let’s see if we can all spread the light in the coming year!

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  3. My first EL book was “We Ride the Gale!” I read it when I was 11 or 12 and I was hooked. I do love her older works better and have been re-reading a lot of them on Kindle Unlimited. “A Candle in Her Heart” is particularly good…tight plot and likable characters, but those that predate and lead up to WWII are the best.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love “We Ride the Gale!” The 1930s were Emilie Loring’s best writing years, I think—although I find favorites throughout. “A Candle in Her Heart” is partially ghostwritten, but it was my sister’s favorite. The “Bookshelf” page shows which are which. Happy reading!

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  4. Happy Christmas Eve! I haven’t visited the blog in a while and just thought about it today. thank you for all you do to keep the light that was Emilie and her books shining. We need her spirit of courage and forward looking today more than ever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Leslie. I’m glad you thought of the blog today. Emilie still has the power to lift spirits, doesn’t she?! Happy Christmas Eve to you today and a Merry Christmas tomorrow!

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  5. Sorry to hear about Captain Bob. I hope to learn more about him from you in the future.

    “How Can the Heart Forget” is among my favorites of the ghost-written books. It is more like traditional EL with the spirit of adventure, the sense of humor–eg, the cat, and the companionship between Myles and Ann. Yes, it contains much more of EL than many of the ghost-written novels. I appreciate reading about the origins of elements of the story.

    It would be interesting to obtain a collection of her early short stories. It would be fun to read something new. Has any one published them in a book/e-book?

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours, and to all fellow Emilie Loring readers!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, great! I will look into reading those! Yes it would be great to see them published together in a volume. Thanks so much!

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      2. Hi Patti,

        I read a few of those short stories last night…and wanted more! Such wonderful little vignettes, so characteristic of Emilie. It’s great to see how she began developing her themes and style.

        Happy Landings!

        Liked by 1 person

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