Aunt Crete’s Emancipation
This story is a Grace Livingston Hill rarity, in which the main character does not find a husband/wife at the end of the story. Lucretia “Crete” Ward is a nice old lady who lives with her sister Carrie and niece Luella, both of whom are very selfish and treat her like a slave. Upon learning that Donald, the son of their now-deceased older sister, is coming to visit from out west, Luella fears what others will think of them if they are seen with a “backwoods cousin,” so she and her mother hurry away to a fancy resort where Luella is anxious to pursue a young man she is convinced is interested in her, which proves to be all in her head. Donald is well-educated and rich, and loves Aunt Crete like a mother, taking her shopping for fancy clothes and paying for French maids to fix up her hair, and then to the very resort where Luella and Carrie are staying. At first, they believe Aunt Crete must be rich and famous because she seems to have the best of everything and makes friends with the family of the young man Luella has her heart set on. When they finally recognize her, they try to order Aunt Crete to leave before she “embarrasses” them. Donald takes her traveling elsewhere, and she never returns to the women who mistreated her.
Aunt Crete’s Emancipation is a very innocent and sweet story of a long list of wrongs set right that keeps readers of all ages enraptured.