19th Century

What Are You Reading By The Fire? – Part Two

Yesterday I posted replies received from a number of Christian writers of historicals when asked what they would be reading if sitting by the fire on the evening of January 11, 1911—one hundred years ago. I received such numerous responses they could not all go in one post, so…

DeAnne Dodson: I’d be reading Agincourt, a Romance by G. P. R. James, Esq. This is a wonderful three-volume story of a young man who finds love and adventure on the way to Henry V’s triumph over the French at Agincourt.  It was published in 1844 and would, of course, have been passed down to me from my great-grandfather. 

Gina Welborn: Emma by Jane Austen. Why? Well, I’ve read it once a year for the last three or four years…Ahhh, the romance! the plot twists! the foolishness and maturation of Emma! Of course, I rarely read one book at a time, so I’ll also be reading Jane Erye by Charlotte Bronte, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, and Martin Luther’ 95 Theses. I’m weird like that. 

Donna Winters: I’m reading Her Infinite Variety by Brand Whitlock (with illustrations by Howard Chandler Christy), Sweet Clover, A Romance of the White City by Clara Louise Burnham, and to my young son, I’m reading Marco Paul’s Travels and Adventures On the Erie Canal by Jacob Abbott.  (I don’t have any kids but if I did I would read my son this book and the others in the Marco Paul series.)

Margaret Brownley: I’m reading Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s book, Eighty Years and More, Reminicenses 1818-1897, now but would also have read it in 1911.  I haven’t changed in 100 years.  Women didn’t get the vote until 1920 and I would have been a Suffragette–no question!

Lynnette Bonner: I think I would probably be reading The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper or, as already mentioned, Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott or maybe The Black Arrow: A Tale of the Two Roses by Robert Louis Stevenson. I love to read historical romance full of adventure and thrills. These books fall into that category.

Angela Breidenbach: In the evening by the fire during 1911, I’d be reading the Tale of Tommy Tiptoes by Beatrix Potter. I’d be reading it because my lap would be full of a little toe head toddler wrapped in his blankie and ready for bed.

Janalyn Voigt: I’m reading Roughing It by Mark Twain, an autobiographical adventure in the Old West.

Keli Gwyn: I’m reading Little Women and Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott. I have the original two-volume version published in 1869 and 1870, treasured copies which were handed down to me by my mother. Even though the books have been out forty years now, they’re such classics. Nothing takes the chill off like a chapter enjoyed by a blazing fire.

Patti Shene: I’d be kicking back with Zane Grey’s Heritage of the Desert, published in 1910. Since my parents know he is my favorite author, they saved their money to put that one gift under the tree for me on Christmas morning, even though my schoolteacher tried and tried to interest me in the writings of William Shakespeare!

Anita Draper: It’s 1911 and a mere 8 yrs have passed since we broke the sod of our homesteaded land on the cold Canadian prairies. Reading is a pleasure reserved for the long nights of winter when the ground is frozen and life slows to a crawl. My husband sits a few feet away massaging oil into the harness. The familiar leather smell mingles with the saturating scent of woodsmoke. Outside, the wind howls while tiny snow-pellets tinkle at the window. But inside with an infant in my arms, I hold up a copy of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables to the children sitting at my feet and tell them it’s a story of a young Canadian girl written by a woman who lives far away on tiny Prince Edward Island in Canada’s Maritime provinces. And if a woman like her could create such a stir in New York, just think of what they could accomplish if they put their minds to it.

Dorothy M. Bond-Dittmer: I would be relaxed in my grandmother’s hand built rocker holding my one-year-old (father). The room, with its wall-sized fireplace, and ornate carved stairway, created by grandfather’s own hand, was not large, but adequate to hold daddy’s eight siblings on the floor eagerly listening to Jack London’s Call of the Wild or White Fang.  What more in life could any woman ask? Give me any story with love, family, nature, and a good dog.

Margaret Daley: Pride and Prejudice. I love the interaction between Elizabeth and Darcy. I feel and see them falling in love with each other and yet society gets in the way.

Sue Weaver: I have my old worn copy of Little Women lying open on my lap, as I walk the rocking chair closer to the fire. I watch the soft, fresh snow falling gently outside my window and my mind reflects on the light cast across the white mounds piling up. I am glad to be sitting in the warm glow of the fireplace, reading of the lives of Jo and her sisters.

My turn: I’m reading The Light That Failed by Rudyard Kipling. I’ve had it on my shelf for a few years now. With the snow falling outside, it’s the perfect time to curl up with an inspiring adventure. It wouldn’t surprise me to find that, in the coming years, they make a story like this into one of those new-fangled moving pictures!

Thank you all for the fun responses!  I thoroughly enjoyed the varied answers, learned of a few new titles, and loved the creativity!

WHAT SAY YOU? What would you be reading by the fire on a cold winter’s night in 1911?

As an author of heartwarming historical and contemporary romance, Sandra Ardoin engages readers with page-turning stories of love and faith. Rarely out of reach of a book, she's also an armchair sports enthusiast, country music listener, and seldom says no to eating out.

No Comments

  • Heidi Chiavaroli

    What fun posts, Sandy!
    Hmmm…”Little Women” and “Emma” are the only ones on my bookshelf I’ve actually read in the last eight years, so I guess one of those! Thanks for the posts!

    • Sandra Ardoin

      Thanks, Heidi! It’s been a while since I’ve read those. I went through a Jane Austen period several years ago when I read all her books. And Little Women? I think I read that as a teen.

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