My favorite of the 1911 bestsellers is Queed by Henry Syndor Harrison. I don’t know any novel with such an emotionally inept leading man that manages to be so endearing. Harrison makes Queed believable by not letting him totally overcome his emotional tone-deafness.
The Broad Highway by Jeffery Farnol is a sunny, romatic tale with a lightweight hero and lightweight plot. It’s a charming diversion for an summer afternoon in a hammock or a winter evening with tea and scones by the fire.
The Winning of Barbara Worth by Harold Bell Wright is not particularly interesting as a romance, but it’s fascinating in its description of geology of the West. The clash between local Imperial Valley interests and eastern financial interests is an “Occupy Wall Street” event, circa 1911.
I’m tempted to add The Prodigal Judge by Vaughan Kester to my list. It isn’t a particularly good novel, but Kester makes an absurd a plot and ridiculous characters come together in a tale that shows the best in people you wouldn’t have thought had a best side.
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