Engineers are heroes of The Winning of Barbara Worth

The Winning of Barbara Worth is a romance in which the romance is the  least interesting element.

An orphaned child found by an engineering team is adopted by financier Jefferson Worth when search fails to find any indication of her family. He adores Barbara; she respects him.

Barbara’s dream is to see Imperial Valley turned from desert into farmland, a dream she shares with the men of the civil engineering outfit. When a handsome, rich Eastern engineer comes to work toward that goal, Barbara falls for him. There are the usual complications of the romance genre.

In Harold Bell Wright’s narrative, California’s Imperial Valley becomes a vivid character, acting out one of several subplots, each more exciting than the main story.

The most exciting subplot is battle of the engineers to reclaim the land by channeling water from the Colorado River into the ancient seabed.

As they push on with the work, another a battle looms over the meaning of good business. Easterners want to develop the valley to benefit Eastern stockholders. Jefferson Worth wants to develop it to benefit westerners like himself.

Wright orchestrates all the plots toward a climax that thunders like the 1812 overture.

The main plot has a Zane Grey feel, but the novel has a much more intricate plot than a typical Zane Grey novel. Moreover, where Grey waxes philosophic about nature, Wright is more pragmatic: His  heroes are civil engineers and entrepreneurs, not cowboys.

Anyone interested in geology, business, or American history will find this well-crafted novel an entertaining way to satisfy their curiosity.

The Winning of Barbara Worth
By Harold B Wright
1911 bestseller #6
Project Gutenberg E-Book #6997
My grade B+
©2011 Linda Gorton Aragoni

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Linda G. Aragoni

I make big ideas simple for learners. In eight sentences, 34 words, I taught teens and adults to write competently. Now I'm writing guides to turn willing volunteers into great nursing home visitors.

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