The Promise: Cultural clash on personal level

In The Chosen, Chaim Potok explored how two brilliant teenage boys struggled to find a way to reconcile their orthodox Jewish faith with their academic interests. The Promise again brings Reuven Malther and Danny Saunders, now both graduate students, together around a problem to which they respond differently. Reuven meets a famous Jewish scholar who, […]

Christy: Facts get in the way of fiction

After hearing the founder of the American Inland Mission tell about needs of impoverished people within a day’s train ride of her Asheville, N.C., home, against her parents’ wishes, Christy Huddleston goes off to teach in a one-room school in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains. From the moment she steps off the train in a snow […]

“The Chosen” examines friendship, faith, fatherhood

Chaim Potok’s novel The Chosen opens with a baseball game between two Jewish parochial schools. The Hasidic school’s best player is Danny Saunders. Reuven Malter leads the orthodox school’s team, which the Hasidim consider as bad as Christians. The Chosen by Chaim Potok © 1967. Book Club Edition, 284 pp. 1967 bestseller #3. My grade: […]

A Good Woman skewers Christian humbug

Emma Downes is a good woman. Deserted by her husband, she started a business, supported herself, raised their son, now a missionary in Africa, and became a force to be reckoned with in her church. A Good Woman by Louis Bromfield Frederick A. Stokes, 1927. 432 pp. 1927 bestseller #10. My grade: A. When natives […]

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 […]

The Doctor: Its plot is as rocky as its setting

The Doctor is the story of a love quadrangle that ends in a religious tract. The Boyle family can afford college for only one son. Mrs. Boyle determines Dick will go to become a minister. The Doctor : A Tale of the Rockies by Ralph Connor¹ 1907 bestseller #9. Project Gutenberg ebook 3242. My Grade: […]