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Authors: Grace Livingston Hill

The Beloved Stranger

BOOK: The Beloved Stranger
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What Christian Authors are Saying
about Grace Livingston Hill:

Grace Livingston Hill, often referred to as the “Queen of Christian Romance,” has given millions of readers timeless Christian novels, offering inspiration, romance, and adventure. The simple message in each of her books reminds us that God has the answer to all our questions.

—Wanda E. Brunstetter,
New York Times
bestselling author

I’ve long been a fan of Grace Livingston Hill. Her romance and attention to detail has always captivated me—even as a young girl. I’m excited to see these books will continue to be available to new generations and highly recommend them to readers who haven’t yet tried them. And for those of you like me who have read the books, I hope you’ll revisit the stories and fall in love with them all over again.

—Tracie Peterson, award-winning, bestselling author of the Song of Alaska and Striking a Match series

Grace Livingston Hill’s books are a treasured part of my young adult years. There was such bedrock faith to them along with the fun. Her heroines were intrepid yet vulnerable. Her heroes were pure of heart and noble (unless they needed to be reformed of course). And the books were often adventures. Just writing this makes me want to hunt down and read again a few of my favorites.

—Mary Connealy, Carol Award-winning author of
Cowboy Christmas
and the Lassoed in Texas series

Grace Livingston Hill books were a big part of my life, from the time I was a teenager and onward. My mother loved her books and shared them with me and my sisters. We always knew we could find an engaging, uplifting story between the covers. And her stories are still enjoyable and encouraging. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but
The Girl from Montana
and
Marcia Schuyler
are two of my favorites. Terrific stories!

—Susan Page Davis, author of
Maine Brides
and The Ladies’ Shooting Club series

The hero, in Grace Livingston Hill’s timeless romantic novels, is always a hero. The heroine is always a strong woman who stands up for her beliefs. He is always handsome; she is always beautiful. And an inviting message of faith is woven throughout each story without preaching. These enduring stories will continue to delight a new generation of readers—just as they did for our great-grandmothers.

—Suzanne Woods Fisher, bestselling author of the Lancaster County Secret series

As a young reader just beginning to know what romance was all about, I was introduced to Grace Livingston Hill’s books. She created great characters with interesting backgrounds and then plopped them down into fascinating settings where they managed to get into romantic pickles that kept me reading until the love-conquers-all endings. Her romance-filled stories showed this young aspiring writer that yes, love can make the fictional world go round.

—Ann H. Gabhart, award-winning author

My grandmother was an avid reader, and Grace Livingston Hill’s books lined her shelves for the years of my childhood and adolescence. Once I dipped into one of them, I was hooked. Years of reading Hill’s stories without a doubt influenced my own desire to become a storyteller, and it’s with great fondness that I remember many of her titles.

—Tracy L. Higley, author of
Garden of Madness

If you’ve enjoyed the classic works of writers like Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, it is way past time for you to discover the inspirational stories of Grace Livingston Hill!

—Anna Schmidt, award-winning author of the Women of Pinecraft series

Ah, Grace Livingstone Hill! Can any other writer compare? Her lyrical, majestic tone, her vivid descriptions … they melt the heart of readers from every generation. Some of my fondest memories from years gone by involve curling up in my mother’s chair and reading her Grace Livington Hill romances. They swept me away to places unknown and reminded me that writers—especially writers of faith—could truly impact their world.

—Janice Hanna Thompson, author of the Weddings by Bella series

Grace Livingston Hill’s stories are like taking a stroll through a garden in the spring: refreshing, fragrant, and delightful—a place you’ll never want to leave.

—MaryLu Tyndall, Christy nominee and author of the Surrender to Destiny series

Enduring stories of hope, triumph over adversity, and true sacrificial love await every time you pick up a Grace Livingston Hill romance.

—Erica Vetsch, author of
A Bride’s Portrait of Dodge City, Kansas

© 2012 by Grace Livingston Hill

Print ISBN 978-1-61626-648-6

eBook Editions:
Adobe Digital Edition (.epub) 978-1-60742-728-5
Kindle and MobiPocket Edition (.prc) 978-1-60742-729-2

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes, except for brief quotation in printed reviews, without written permission of the publisher.

All scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual people, organizations, and/or events is purely coincidental.

Cover design: Faceout Studio,
www.faceoutstudio.com

Published by Barbour Publishing, Inc., P.O. Box 719, Uhrichsville, Ohio 44683,
www.barbourbooks.com

Our mission is to publish and distribute inspirational products offering exceptional value and biblical encouragement to the masses.

Printed in the United States of America.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

About the Author

Chapter 1

1930s Eastern America

S
herrill stood before the long mirror and surveyed herself critically in her bridal array.

Rich creamy satin shimmering, sheathing her slender self, drifting down in luscious waves across the old Chinese blue of the priceless rug on which she stood! Misty white veil like a cloud about her shoulders, caught by the frosty cap of rare lace about her sweet forehead, clasped by the wreath of orange blossoms in their thick green and white perfection, flowers born to nestle in soft mists of tulle and deepen the whiteness, the only flower utterly at home with rich old lace.

Sherrill stooped to the marble shelf beneath the tall mirror and picked up a hand mirror, turning herself this way and that to get a glimpse of every side. There seemed to be no possible fault to be found anywhere. The whole outfit was a work of art.

“It’s lovely, isn’t it, Gemmie?” she said brightly to the elderly woman who had served her aunt for thirty years as maid. “Now, hand me the bouquet. I want to see how it all looks together. It isn’t fair not to be able to get the effect of one’s self after taking all this trouble to make it a pleasant sight for other people.”

The old servant smiled.

“What quaint things you do say, Miss Sherry!” she said as she untied the box containing the bridal bouquet. “But don’t you think maybe you should leave the flowers in the box till you get to the church? They might get a bit crushed.”

“No, Gemmie, I’ll be very careful. I want to see how pretty they look with the dress and everything. Aren’t they lovely?”

She took the great sheaf of roses gracefully on one arm and posed, laughing brightly into the mirror, the tip of one silver shoe advancing beneath the ivory satin, her eyes like two stars, her lips in the curves of a lovely mischievous child; then, advancing the other silver-shod foot, she hummed a bar of the wedding march.

“Now, am I quite all right, Gemmie?” she asked again.

“You are the prettiest bride I ever set eyes on,” said the woman, looking at the sweet, fair girl wistfully. “Ef I’d had a daughter, I could have asked no better for her than that she should look like you in her wedding dress,” and Gemmie wiped a furtive tear from one corner of her eye over the thought of the daughter she never had had.

“There, there, Gemmie, don’t go to getting sentimental!” cried Sherrill with a quick little catch in her own breath, and a sudden wistful longing in her breast for the mother she never had known. “Now, I’m quite all right, Gemmie, and you’re to run right down and get Stanley to take you over to the church. I want you to be sure and get the seat I picked out for you, where you can see everything every minute. I’m depending on you, you know, to tell me every detail afterward—and Gemmie, don’t forget the funny things, too. I wouldn’t want to miss them, you know. Be sure to describe how Miss Hollister looks in her funny old bonnet with the ostrich plume.”

“Oh now, Miss Sherrill, I couldn’t be looking after things like that when you was getting married,” rebuked the woman.

“Oh yes, you could, Gemmie, you’ve got the loveliest sense of humor! And I want to know everything! Nobody else will understand, but you do, so now run away quick!”

“But I couldn’t be leaving you alone,” protested the woman with distress in her voice. “It’ll be plenty of time for me to be going after you have left. Your aunt Pat said for me to stay by you.”

“You have, Gemmie; you’ve stayed as long as I had need of you, and just everything is done. You couldn’t put another touch to me anywhere, and I’d rather know you are on your way to that nice seat I asked the tall, dark usher to put you in. So please go, Gemmie, right away!

The fact is, Gemmie, I’d really like just a few minutes alone all by myself before I go. I’ve been so busy I couldn’t get calm, and I need to look into my own eyes and say good-bye to myself before I stop being a girl and become a married woman. It really is a kind of scary thing, you know, Gemmie, now that I’m this close to it. I don’t know how I ever had the courage to promise I’d do it!” and she laughed a bright little trill full of joyous anticipation.

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