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 […]

Recommended 1920, 1929 bestsellers

Since I just recently reviewed a few of the bestsellers of 1920 and 1929 I missed when their anniversary years came up in my schedule, I’ll update my picks for the best of the lists now. None from the 1920 bestsellers There are really no titles among the 1920 bestsellers that are more than just […]

Dark Hester Lifts Curtain on Adult Growing Pains

Dark Hester is less dark than Anne Douglas Sedgwick’s earlier bestseller, Tante, but it, too, confronts the problem of growing older. After burying her husband in India, Monica Wilmott returned with their infant son to England. By hard work and good management, she provided Clive with a happy childhood and an Oxford education. She even […]

My picks of 1924: So Big, So Driven, So French, So Misplaced

Of the 10 novels that were bestsellers in 1924, four stand out for providing far more than just an entertaining story: So Big by Edna Ferber, The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield [Fisher], The Little French Girl by Anne Douglas Sedgwick, and The Midlander  by Booth Tarkington. Although the stories are very different, each explores obstacles that […]

The Little French Girl Is Exquisitely Bi-cultural

The Little French Girl is a novel that needs to be peeled, layer by layer, like a sweet onion. Reading it requires alertness and either some French or a good French dictionary. The story opens with Alix Vervier being met at Victoria Station by Giles Owen. Madame Vervier, presuming on a war-time acquaintance with Giles’ […]

My favorites from the 1912 bestseller list

It is easier to name the novels from the 1912 bestseller list that are not my favorites than to pick the ones I like best.  Here in no particular order are my favorites. Their Yesterdays by Harold Bell Wright is either nostalgic or sentimental depending on how charitable you are feeling when you read it. […]

Tante succeeds where tabloids seek to tread

Tante is a fictional, behind-the-scenes account of an international celebrity of the late Victorian-era whose drug of choice is popular adulation. Mercedez von Marwitz, 48, stage name Madame Osraska, is a still-beautiful and famous pianist with a tabloid past and a strange entourage. When a good looking barrister Gregory Jardine shows more interest in Karen […]