The White Flower by Grace Livingston Hill is the story of young Rachel Rainsford who all alone in the world since the death of her professor father. In an attempt to support herself she answers a newspaper ad to become an old lady's companion and begins her journey by train out west. Wealthy Chan Prescott sees Rachel's red hair and immediately recognizes her as the daughter of his old professor who inspired him to truth and excellence. Sitting quietly reading on the train Chan overhears Rachel's traveling companion selling Rachel to businessman Mr. Shillingsworth and submit her to "a fate worse than death". It is then that Chan makes his own plans to warn Rachel of the plan and get her off the train and to safety out of these evil men's grasp. They hop off the train at a remote location and the chase begins - hiding in trees, running through the countryside, jumping onto moving trains, and renting rooms from old ladies in farmhouses. Suspense abounds as the pair think their safe only to run into the bad guys and off they have to run again. But God is looking out for Rachel and her protector guiding them to safety and Chan to a saving knowledge of Himself.
What I most appreciated about Grace Livingston Hill is the purity and high spiritual ideals she writes both into her stories and her characters. In this book Rachel is a born-again believer who's very character breaths modesty, sweetness, kindness and purity. These are things that Chan loves about her, he sees right away in the way she dresses and conducts herself that she is different than other girls he's known, and he really appreciates that. She is a special lady and throughout the story she inspires in him a desire to be a man worthy of such a woman. To be a noble protector, loyal, kind and pure gentleman who she can trust. She also inspires in him a desire to "Live pure, right wrong, and follow the King" and to wear "the white flower of a blameless life". Another things about Ms. Hill's is that she always tried to include the salvation message and spiritual truths in her novels, which is a great blessing.
I loved the descriptions of different ways Rachel wore her hair and the 1930's clothes she wore. The way Ms. Hill writes it's so easy for the reader to see the picture she's painting of places and characters.
Another thing I enjoyed was Rachel's explanation to Chan about her Christian view of love and marriage, and why she would only marry the man God wanted her to. Below is an excerpt from Chapter 9 where Rachel is explaining:
"You see, this house we live in...This house of flesh is full of electrical currents, like the wiring of a house. That's how father explained it to me, and when we bring the wires together the current is bound to flash along the whole circuit. And we have no business to bring them together unless we really belong. That was why father objected to dancing. He said it gave license for too much personal contact, and young people especially were misled and took it for a deeper feeling. They thought it meant mind and spirit too, when it was only just the senses. And then when it was too late and they had spoiled their lives they found out it was only the flash deceiving them. He said that those feelings were meant to come after and add beauty and light and glory, just as the lighting system of a house is not the place we live in, but only an added beauty; a thing to rejoice in, but not a thing to shelter us. ...Mother used to say the light of the house were not for everybody to turn on. They are for the master's hand only. They are the crowning glory. She said that for anyone else it was uncleanness, impurity."
How does the story end? Very well, wrong is righted when Chan leaves vengeance to the Lord and chooses to follow Christ as his King! This is such a sweet and interesting story a bit like a mystery and the "romance" doesn't really happen until the very end of the story. I hightly recommend this books and other from Grace Livingston Hill. I'm afraid that his good Christian author has been forgotten in recent years.
Have you every read anything by Grace Livingston Hill? What did you think?
What have you been reading lately?
Your's Very Truly,