The theme of The Hundredth Chance is familiar: A rough but noble man offers a marriage of convenience to an impoverished gentlewoman.
Ethel M. Dell keeps the story moving so readers have little time to notice how preposterous the characters and story are.
The Hundredth Chance by Ethel M. Dell
G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1917. 1917 bestseller #10. Project Gutenberg Ebook #43069. My grade:B-.
The poor gentlewoman is Maud Brian. Maud is 25 and worn out from caring for her 15-year-old brother.
Bunny is physically crippled from a fall in infancy and emotionally crippled by getting his own way ever since.
Maud refused rich Lord Saltash when he was named in an ugly divorce suit, but she remains infatuated with him.
Jake Bolton, a horse trainer for Lord Saltash, offers Maud marriage and Bunny a home.
The likelihood of the marriage succeeding is about 1 in a 100, but when Jake believes in the value of a horse or a human being, he’s willing to bet all on the hundredth chance.
Readers know how the story will end.
The real question is when will it end.
Dell’s characters are not believable enough to warrant close scrutiny.
The pasted on religious message is also suspect.
In the end, The Hundredth Chance fails because it does what 99 percent of novels on this theme do.
©2017 Linda Gorton Aragoni