The Fighting Chance doesn’t land a punch

The Fighting Chance is about upper crust young Americans who have nothing they must do but can’t do nothing well.

Leading lady Sylvia Landis hails from a line of promiscuous women. She’s engaged herself to filthy-rich bachelor Howard Quarrier hoping—but not believing—his money will secure her fidelity.


The Fighting Chance by Robert W. Chambers

Project Gutenberg EBook #7492. My Grade: B.


Although Sylvia is sure she needs mega-millions for happiness, she falls for Stephen Siward, who has only enough to live on without working.

Stephen was recently dropped from an exclusive club for conduct unbecoming a gentleman while drunk.

Drink has been the downfall of the Siwards for generations.

The story begins to get interesting when a sharp, amiable young businessman with upwardly mobile ambitions comes on the scene.

Beverly Plank is socially inept, but he’s the sensitive, tough-minded friend Siward needs.

Plank not only gets Siward off booze, but provides him with challenging work figuring out what financial shenanigans Quarrier is up to.

When it was that [Siward] first began to like Plank very much he could not exactly remember. He was not, perhaps, aware of how much he liked him. Plank’s unexpected fits of shyness, of formality, often and often amused him. But there was a subtler feeling under the unexpressed amusement, and, beneath all, a constantly increasing sub-stratum of respect. Too, he found himself curiously at ease with Plank, as with one born to his own caste. And this feeling, unconscious, but more and more apparent, meant more to Plank than anything that had ever happened to him. It was a tonic in hours of doubt, a pleasure in his brief leisure, a pride never to be hinted at, never to be guessed, never to be dreamed of by any living soul save Plank alone.

Robert W. Chambers does a lot that’s right in his characterization, plot development, and refusal to do the expected, yet somehow the novel doesn’t work.

The romance is too prosaic for escapism, and the most intriguing component of the plot—the friendship between the two men—is inadequately developed to become the novel’s core.

© 2016 Linda Gorton Aragoni

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