Although there was a nine-year age difference between Isabella and her older sister Marcia, they were as close as sisters could be.
They had a lot in common—they had the same sense of humor, they both married ministers, and they were both talented writers.
Marcia and Isabella co-wrote several novels together, including:
Isabella and Marcia wrote some books while they lived together in the same house in Winter Park, Florida; and when miles and circumstances separated the sisters, they wrote some of their books “by mail.” What’s extraordinary is the way the sisters’ writing styles blended seamlessly so that it’s impossible to tell which sister wrote which sections of their books.
They were both tireless writers. In addition to novel writing, Marcia contributed stories and articles to The Pansy, which was Isabella’s magazine for children. And Marcia’s short stories for adults were regularly published in The Interior, a Christian magazine.
Marcia’s husband Charles was a minister who wrote his own weekly sermons, as well as theological papers. Like Marcia, he, too, wrote stories and articles for The Pansy.
Their daughter Grace Livingston Hill grew up in a home filled with creativity, a love of reading, and a strong work ethic. She learned the letters of the alphabet by clicking on the keys of her Aunt Isabella’s typewriter. She learned the art of writing a short story from her mother Marcia.
At an early age Grace discovered she could earn a living by her writing, just as her mother and aunt did. Her first book, A Chautauqua Idyl was published in 1887. Soon Grace joined her mother and her Aunt Isabella in creating inspiring, uplifting and memorable Christian fiction for women. Marcia encouraged Grace and often edited her manuscripts before Grace sent them off to her publisher.
Grace wrote over one-hundred novels, all of which remain popular today. Less popular are her short stories—not because they are any less well-written, but because they are more difficult to find. Her short stories appeared in magazines and newspapers in the early years of the 1900s and copies of those publications are rare finds today.
The same is true for stories written by Marcia Livingston. They were published in the 1890s in magazines that went out of business long ago, their records scattered or destroyed; only a few issues can be found in libraries and museum collections. Their scarcity makes them all the more precious.
… And we’re giving away free copies!
We’re giving away four copies of Faith and Love in e-book format to subscribers to this blog. The winners will claim their e-book through Amazon.
We’ll announce the winners on Friday, August 28. Good luck!
Faith and Love is available at these e-book retailers: