The Old Countess adds terror to impressionism

While painting the Dorgone River Valley landscape, Richard Graham encounters a witch-like old woman who looks like a portrait by Goya. He accepts the Comtesse de Lomoudrie’s invitation to come to tea and bring his wife. On the way, Richard and Jill visit a cemetery where one grave, that of Marthe Ludérac, stands isolated from […]

The best of the 1917 bestsellers for 2017 readers

The 1917 bestseller list contains three novels that are definitely read-again novels for 2017:  The Red Planet by William J. Locke, His Family by Ernest Poole, and In the Wilderness by Robert Hichens. The only thing that common thread among my choices is that each is decidedly uncommon. A domestic novel: His Family I’ll start […]

The Hundredth Chance is too predictable

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.  […]

The Definite Object is definitely second-rate

  The American setting of The Definite Object allows Jeffery Farnol to diversity his usual cast of minor characters with immigrants, gangsters, slumlords, and professional pugilists. The variety adds complexity to the novel without noticeably changing Farnol’s usual story line. The Definite Object: A Romance of New York by Jeffery Farnol 1917 bestseller #9. Project […]

His Family is a kind of immortality

Roger Gale came to New York at 17 from New Hampshire looking for a business he could turn into the American dream. He made it happen. He also married. His Family by Ernest Poole MacMillan, 1917. 1917 bestseller #7. Project Gutenberg ebook #14396. My grade A-. Three daughters and 20 years later, Judith died, leaving […]

In the Wilderness character tells

In the Wilderness is an antidote to salacious later twentieth century bestsellers. But Robert Hichens’ novel is strong stuff that many readers may find hard to swallow. In the Wilderness by Robert Hichens 1917 bestseller #7. Project Gutenberg EBook #4603] My grade: A- Dion Leith is passionately in love with Rosamund Everard, who finds him […]

Christine is fake, not fiction

Alice Cholmondeley’s author’s note to Christine prefaces what Cholmondeley says are letters written to her by her daughter, Christine, who was studying in Germany the summer World War I began. A note saying the publisher chose to alter names of some individuals reinforces the idea that the letters are true. Christine by Alice Cholmondeley¹ ©1917. 1917 […]