Sorrell and Son is a sweet tale of a decent English gentleman, weakened by war wounds, deserted by his wife, who makes raising his son his life’s work.
Down to nearly his last shilling, army veteran Stephen Sorrell takes a job as a hotel porter.
Sorrell and Son by Warwick Deeping
Alfred A. Knopf, 1926. 400 p. 1927 bestseller #3. My grade: B.
It’s an awful job, but Sorrell does his work to his own exacting standards. Impressed, a hotel guest, Thomas Roland, taps Sorrell to be second porter at the new country hotel he is opening.
The head porter there makes Sorrell’s life miserable until Roland gets fed up with the man’s bullying and womanizing.
Sorrell takes over as head porter.
Sorrell turns out to have managerial ability, and works his way up to become manager of one of Roland’s chain of hotels.
Sorrell makes enough to live comfortably and also pay for son Christopher ‘s Cambridge education, medical schooling, and surgical practice.
Christopher grows into as fine a man as his father could wish.
Warwick Deeping makes Sorrell just stubborn and resentful enough to keep him from appearing a plaster saint. Christopher, too, has his flaws.
Readers will care what happens to them.
Sadly, American class distinctions are based on economics rather than on ethics: Today’s readers will view this only as a story of a determined man.
©2016 Linda Gorton Aragoni