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Marcia Schuyler Hardcover – Import, 11 Aug 2015
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Marcia Schuyler is a young girl of eighteen who dreams of one day being loved by a man like her sister Kate's fiancé David Spafford, although she wonders if any man will ever love her as much as David loves Kate, being not blond and beautiful like her vivacious older sister.
Unlike Kate who is selfish and unkind, there is a child likeness about Marcia, who is unselfish and loving. In the two sisters we see the difference between unconditional love and living to please oneself. This theme is picked up throughout the novel with the different characters who are very well portrayed. I especially like Miranda, the plain little orphan girl who lives with her grandmother and who is willing to do anything for those she loves. She is more worldly wise than Marcia and puts her own life at risk to keep her safe.
Marcia is upset at the offhand way in which Kate treats David, and starts out her own married life at quite a disadvantage - with a man who loves another, with her sisters' trousseau, and with a strong sense of moral obligation to honour the promise she made in order to save her parents and David from shame. It is truly a case of laying one's life down for another.
This is a beautifully told love story with a strong Christian message. I really recommend this novel, and in fact any novel written by this author. Many of her books are free on Amazon kindle which is an added bonus! Sue Garland (...)
The barebones of this story was charming. However, the execution was excruciating. There were too many long, drawn-out reminiscences and details that did nothing to move the story forward. I don’t think the page numbers listed are correct, because I thought the story would never end. It went on and on. It would have been a good book if it had been pruned quite a bit. This is much different than the other Grace Livingstone Hill books that I've read. The basic story was sweet, but the extraneous parts bogged it down.
I love how in the books by this author, difficult situations brought about by internal temptations (to distrust, to give in to selfish or spiteful feelings, to lash out at difficult people) or external temptations (to take revenge on a person, to be unfaithful to God or to a spouse, to set someone up for a fall) are realistically portrayed and often drive the plot. When reading, I feel as if I'm reading the thoughts and feelings of real people. Happiness is usually earned by overcoming both kinds of temptations, and often it seems (as in real life) as if God is not listening when we need Him most - although later we see that He was.
In this book, it takes the jilted hero quite a long time to even notice his replacement bride, the little sister of the woman he loved, who eloped with someone else on the day of the wedding. In the meantime, this bride must struggle with love that she knows isn't looked for or wanted, feelings that she has "stolen" what her sister threw away (not just the husband, but an honorable position in early American society, and a trunk of beautiful, expensive clothes that she could never have had otherwise), and with the difficult people who's unfriendly and spiteful treatment she has to face in her new home. She has to confront that she loves a man who may never stop loving her shallow sister, that her life may be more or less lonely and unhappy until it's over, and that she gave up a carefree time of youth in exchange for her new, not very satisfying and often painful life.
Additionally, she is surrounded by people who's plans have been upset, and who are actively plotting to hurt and punish both her and the husband she loves for thwarting their selfish hopes for different kinds of ugly self-satisfaction. I love how the author brings to life how it is in the little things that one woman can most maliciously wound another - by a seemingly harmless comment about a shabby bonnet, for instance, or how humiliated one woman can make another feel just by repeating (with nasty intentions) an innocent preference for salt vs. yeast bread. These things arouse sympathy for the heroine in a way nothing else could.
God is a little less present in this book than in some others, but certainly not absent. I always feel very comforted by reading the Grace L-H books that talk about God more, because He is so little talked of or thought of among the people I know today, and those books also comfort me tremendously with the knowledge that as early as 1916, people like me were struggling with artificial faith passing itself off as legitimate, and having to really be careful how they talked about God and with whom, since in society only "fanatics and hypocrites" would bring religious topics into a polite conversation. But I also do very much enjoy the ones where He is so much a part of the characters thoughts and lives, that the presence, if not the mention, is beautifully clear. This book is one of the second kind.
Some people seem to criticize the Grace L-H books because of the predictably happy endings for the people who are good, but in this book especially, that is something I enjoy very much. It is much easier and more enjoyable to read the inward and outward struggles of the characters I come to like, knowing that all will be right in the end. I think it allows the reader to more readily immerse themselves in the characters' struggles in a good way. I like too how the selfish, bad characters experience very believable progression of their awful decisions. It seems very realistic to me, and draws me to examine my own actions and motivations in a good way.
This story is touching, David and Marcia are constrained by circumstances to marry, Kate eloped the night before her wedding. To avoid the shame to her father and family Marcia agrees to marry David in Kate's place. The story is of their life together and how Kate tries to destroy their new relationship.
This is one of Ms. Hill's best, you will enjoy it!