George Barr McCutcheon, who can deliver a great plot when the mood strikes him, appears not to have been in the mood when he wrote Nedra.
The novel is the prose equivalent of a game of solitaire.
Nedra by George Barr McCutcheon
Illlus.Harrison Fisher, 1906. 1905 bestseller #5. Project Gutenberg ebook #13967. My grade C+.
Life-long friends Hugh Ridgeway and Grace Vernon have decided to marry when Grace reaches 23, which her late father considered the age of discretion.
Dreading a big society wedding, they elope.
Posing as brother and sister, they sail for Manila, planning to marry there.
To Hugh’s annoyance, bachelors flock around Grace. Henry Veath is particularly attentive.
Hugh is forced to rely for company on beautiful and young Lady “Tennys” Huntingford, whose elderly husband despises her for marrying him for his position.
When the ship strikes a reef in a storm, Hugh and Tennys wash ashore on an island inhabited by cannibals.
The story gets increasingly silly until the U.S. Navy rescues the couple and allows McCutcheon to end the story the way readers expected it would since chapter 5.
Early on, McCutcheon gives Hugh some laugh lines in a manner reminiscent of Jeffrey Farnol.
He soon gives it up.
Neither Hugh or the women are clever enough for word games.
They’re all solitaire types.
© 2015 Linda Gorton Aragoni