Character studies are top 1927 bestseller list novels

Readers will still find entertainment in the 1927 bestsellers, but not much besides entertainment. There’s not one of the novels whose plot I can recall beyond a sentence summary, even though I enjoyed all of them but one of them when I read them. Despite their less than memorable plots, three of the bestsellers are […]

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 […]

My top picks of 1908 bestselling novels

The bestselling novels of 1908 provide some good entertainment and a couple contains some historical insights, but none really stand out as novels you can’t afford to miss. Of the lot, The Strange Case of Miss Annie Spragg by the prolific and versatile Louis Bromfield and The Shuttle by the equally prolific but less versatile […]

The Farm: Narrative Without a Story

Based in part on author Louis Bromfield’s own family history, The Farm is an unsatisfactory novel. Crowded with characters and brimming with anecdotes, many of which seem worthy of being turned into a novel, the book doesn’t succeed in melding them into more than the sum of its parts. The story begins in 1815. Colonel […]

My picks of the 1943 bestsellers

Picking the 1943 bestsellers to which I wouldn’t give shelf space is easier than choosing three keepers.  Five of the 10 have withstood the ravages of time. My favorite is Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  The novel is the quintessential American Dream tale. Armed only with grit, love, and a belief in the […]

There’s plenty of life in Mrs. Parkington yet

Mrs. Parkington, 84, is the very rich widow of a larger-than-life scoundrel whom she adored. The only one of herfamily Mrs. Parkington can stand is her great-granddaughter, Janie.  Daughter Alice is addicted to drugs and alcohol, much-married Madeline has just added a cowboy to her string of husbands, and Helen, Janie’s mother, is married to […]

Twenty-Four Hours Shows What a Difference a Day Makes

In Twenty-Four Hours, Louis Bromfield takes a plot that appears to be plodding off in one direction, gives it more twists than a bag of pretzels, and turns out a story that seems perfectly plausible. As the curtain rises, old Hector Champion is giving a dreary dinner to distract himself from worry over the results […]