Loose Ends Amplify Theme of Kindred of the Dust

Kindred of the Dust is an old-fashioned romance about love that’s based on trusting the loved one’s character.

Pile of oak logs
Oak logs

Hector McKaye is the richest lumberman Washington state and first citizen of Port Agnew.  His son, Donald, is like him in business acumen, integrity, and rejection of humbug.

Donald is smitten by Nan Brent, a poor local girl with beauty, brains, character, and a bastard son.

Hector admires Nan but won’t have his beloved son tarred by association with a fallen woman.

Son Donald is “man enough to scorn public opinion, but human enough to fear it.”

Because this is a romance, we know Donald will defy his father and that eventually Hector will come round.

But Peter B. Kyne gives an unexpected twist to the plot by presenting the story from a male perspective: The central love story is that of father and son. The details of the Nan-Donald marriage come out in the context of the father-son relationship.

Against these two love stories, Kyne pipes a counter melody of Hector’s marriage and the marriage of Hector’s plant manager.

Kindred of the Dust is not a great novel, but it’s far from ordinary.

Kyne explores issues of morality and hypocrisy in both public opinion and personal behavior.

He leaves several intriguing loose ends as unspoken testimony to the fact that if you believe in a person’s integrity, you accept that person’s word without demanding proof.

Kindred of the Dust
By Peter B. Kyne, Illustrated by Dean Cornwell
New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1920
47 chapters
Project Gutenberg eBook #13532
1920 bestseller #2
My grade: B

Photo credit: Oak logs by stroinski

© 2014 Linda Gorton Aragoni