T. Tembarom Engagingly Quirky “Orphan” Novel

Orphaned at 10, T. Tembarom goes to work selling newspapers. Cheerful and practical, the lad makes do with whatever comes his way, even discarding his name for a less embarrassing one.

Through hard work and good sense, Tembarom eventually gets a foot in the newsroom door. He hopes to become a news reporter.

While pounding the pavement, Tembarom finds a man with a wad of money but no idea who he is. Tembarom gives his amnesiac friend, whom he calls Mr. Strangeways, his own boarding house bed.

When Tembarom inherits an English estate, the Brooklyn girl whom Tembarom hoped to marry refuses to  even to write him until he’s lived a year under his legal name in his new role in England. From England herself, the Brooklyn realist knows she wouldn’t be socially acceptable as Mrs. Temple Temple Barholm.

The Brits are embarrassed by Tembarom’s Yankee slang and off-the-rack clothes. Gradually, however, his kindness and ability to see things from the other person’s viewpoint win them over. He even wins the friendship of the marriageable daughters whom he has no interest in marrying.

Frances Hodgson Burnett does such a good job of foreshadowing the surprise ending that it’s no surprise. It is, however, a pleasure. Burnett’s characters are so engagingly quirky that the lack of substance in this offbeat, rags-to-riches novel don’t matter.

T. Tembarom
by Frances Hodgson Burnett
1913 bestseller #10
Project Gutenberg ebook #2514
My grade B

© 2013 Linda Gorton Aragoni

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Linda Aragoni

I read. I write. I think. I make big ideas simple. I help teachers teach expository writing to teens and adults. In my free time, I read and review old novels.

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