A Daily Rate

The second free Grace Livingston Hill audiobook I mentioned yesterday was titled A Daily Rate.

Celia Murray lives in a Philadelphia boarding house. She and the other residents put up with awful food and shabby surroundings. She’s concerned about one of the younger men who is hanging out with the wrong crowd in the evenings. A couple of the young women seem giggly and frivolous and into nothing more than dating and novels. Celia wishes she could fix up the place and make it more home-like. Perhaps then some of the others would stay in for more wholesome activities.

Celia would also love to bring her Aunt Hannah to live with her. Aunt Hannah had raised Celia when her parents died. Then Hannah had taken in some other nieces ad nephews as well, but they didn’t seem to appreciate her efforts as much. Due to reduced circumstances, Hannah now lives with another niece who treats her as an unpaid servant and baby-sitter.

When Celia comes into an unexpected small inheritance at the same time her landlady has to take a leave due to medical problems, Celia is able to make both dreams come true. She brings Aunt Hannah to help her “mission of making one bright little clean home spot for a few people who had hitherto been in discomfort.” They start small with a few touches here and there, but the biggest change is in providing nourishing food in a clean and attractive setting.

Though Celia has good intentions, she comes across as somewhat judgmental. Plus she is impatient. When her efforts appear to fail, she wants to give up. But Hannah gently helps her gain the right perspective.

One level of the plot has to do with the transformation of the home and boarders, but another level focuses on Celia’s maturing.

A Daily Rate was one of Hill’s earliest novels, written in 1900. The Search, mentioned yesterday, was written 19 years later. Like any author, Hill’s growth as a writer can be seen in her later book. But this one was good as well. It was fun in both books to hear the slang of the day and to get picture of life in that era.

I especially appreciated the emphasis in A Daily Rate on how homemaking can be a ministry to a home’s inhabitants. Even though that’s my chosen profession, I can still get caught up in all the “stuff” that has to be done and have not the best attitude about it. It helps to be reminded that the “stuff” of housekeeping isn’t an end in itself.

The Kindle version of this book is available for 99 cents at the time of this writing.

5 thoughts on “A Daily Rate

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