Although the bestsellers of 1903 include some good stories and some intriguing detail, none of the novels is literature. Most are not even novels you’d seek out for a second reading.
With the exception of Owen Wister’s The Virginian, each seems to be very much a novel of its era. It’s hard to imagine any of the 10 becoming a bestseller even a decade later.
Lady Rose’s Daughter by Mrs. Humphrey Ward was arresting enough while I was reading it, but within a few weeks I’d forgotten all but the broad outline of the story. The same was true of The Pit, by Frank Norris, and The Letters of a Self-Made Merchant to his Son, by George Horace Lorimer.
Unfortunately, those three are so much better than the others from 1903, that I have to chose them as my top picks.
© 2013 Linda Gorton Aragoni