A friend of mine who recently moved was downsizing and getting rid of lots of stuff, so I was the happy recipient of a bag full of books. All by Grace Livingston Hill, 49 of them.
I'm on my eighth one, and really enjoying these old-fashioned stories. Written in the 1910s to 1940s, they are decidedly quaint and moral, even for those times. They are also unashamedly Christian, with a gospel message presented in each book. The heroine is always lovely and courageous, the hero always manly and protective, the servants always loyal and obedient . . . and there's always a beautiful sunset, a lovely, floral-scented breeze wafting from the garden, and a happy ending.
While I appreciate fine literature as much as anyone, and enjoy many classic and modern novels, these somewhat sappy stories are a breath of fresh air; right is right and wrong is wrong, and there's no relativistic moral dilemmas to solve (or not), no modern-day psychological angst to struggle through, no unresolved conflicts and depressing endings.
I had thought after the first two or three I would tire of the somewhat formulaic writing and predictable story lines, but not so far. They feel homey and peaceful and comforting. Escapist, really . . . but not in the sense of your ordinary beach read.
There's wonderful messages of grace, forgiveness, repentance, and love all wound through the stories; they're inspiring and heartwarming, especially for the Christian reader looking for encouragement in their walk.
I'm not sure these books are carried in libraries anymore, but I have found a couple to read free online at gutenberg.org if you want to give one a try. Two I've read online are Cloudy Jewel and The Enchanted Barn. Just type those into the search engine.