The House of a Thousand Candles: Its wax has waned

The House of A Thousand Candles opens with John Glenarm learning the conditions of his grandfather’s will from Arthur Pickering, a man John dislikes “as heartily as it is safe for one man to dislike another.”

The House of a Thousand Candles by Meredith Nicholson

Howard Chandler Christy, illus. ©1905 Bobbs-Merrill. 1906 bestseller #4.
Project Gutenberg eBook #12441.  My grade: B.

An orphan, John was raised by his grandfather, who wanted him to be an architect. John chose engineering and dissipated the fortune his father left him.

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The will confines John to occupying Glenarm House without leaving the rural Indiana county or having company for a year.

John agrees out of respect for his grandfather and shame for the grief he caused him.

If John violates the conditions, the property reverts to Marian Devereux, a young woman whose aunt runs the Catholic girls school on property adjoining Glenarm House.

Meredith Nicholson spins this opening into a mystery-romance that is as ridiculous as the will is eccentric.

There are rumors of treasure hid on the property, secret passages, attempts on John’s life, the grandfather’s butler-companion who knows more than he lets on, and one very attractive girl at the school next door.

The House will provide pleasant diversion, but both story and characters will be snuffed from memory within a few days of reading.

©2016 Linda Gorton Aragoni

Floodtide Is a Wash Out

In 1850, Ross Pary returns to his native Natchez attired as a gentleman. He has an Oxford education and credentials as an architect. He aims to become a gentleman planter.

Before he is off the boat, Ross is smitten by the gorgeous, amoral Morgan Brittany, whose much-older husband becomes Ross’s best friend, helping him gain acceptance in planter society.

Ross falls for the daughter of a Cuban freedom fighter. He follows Conchita to Cuba and joins in the fight against the Spanish. Ross and Conchita marry just before they are caught and separated, each thinking the other is dead.

Ross goes back to America, where he eventually marries. Conchita goes to Europe and becomes a celebrated dancer.

As Civil War looms, Ross frees his slaves, incurring the wrath of his neighbors and his vehemently pro-slavery wife. Morgan connives to separate Ross from his wife, and succeeds in a way she never imagined.

Floodtide is a hodgepodge of episodes from standard romance fiction strung together with Ross Pary in the leading male role. Unfortunately, author Frank Yerby’s doesn’t stick with romance. He pulls in a half dozen other genres as well.

Whatever your literary tastes, you’ll find something to dislike in this awful novel.

by Frank Yerby
Dial Press, 1950
1950 bestseller #6
My grade: C
© 2010 Linda Gorton Aragoni