The Fortunate Youth Makes Fortunate Readers

Close up photo of toad
Yes, my parents were a prince and princess.

The Fortunate Youth is far from a literary masterpiece, but William J. Locke knows how to spin a yarn so ideas worth pondering stick to it.

As the story opens, 11-year-old Paul Kegworthy  is living in a dirty industrial town with parents who are, in Locke’s tongue-in-cheek phrase, “not a model couple.”

A beautiful visitor to town says she’s sure Paul’s parents were a prince and princess. Paul thinks so, too. He itches to find his noble family.

A peddler gives Paul both a lift toward London, good food and good reading material.

Until he’s 23, Paul gets along on his good looks, first as an artist’s model in London, then as an actor in a rural touring company.

Every job that comes his way, Paul turns into an opportunity to develop noble behavior.

Paul has been selected a candidate for the House of Commons and as potential husband by the wealthy and lovely Princess Zobraska, when he discovers who is parents really are.

Needless to say, they weren’t of royal blood.

The candidate-suitor is revealed to be an imposter.

What can Paul do?

Locke keeps the story zipping along, slowing occasionally to let readers consider larger issues of determination, faith, and providence but never slipping into sermonizing.

The Fortunate Youth
By William J. Locke
Project Gutenberg EBook #4379
1914 bestseller #5
My grade: B

Photo credit: Toad by thegnome54

© 2014 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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