Lost Ecstasy shows the Old West’s ugly underside

  Mary Roberts Rinehart’s Lost Ecstasy turns the romance of the Old West on its head. Handsome cowboy Tom McNeil can ride, rope, and sing baritone. Lost Ecstasy by Mary Roberts Rinehart. Doran, 1927. 372 pp. 1927 bestseller # 6. My Grade: B-. His only flaws — binge drinking, womanizing, and using paper napkins— aren’t […]

My picks of the 1918 bestsellers

I had no difficulty selecting my two two choices of the 1918 bestselling novels: Daughter of the Land by Gene Stratton-Porter and The Amazing Interlude by Mary Roberts Rinehart. Both novels have an anti-establishment and feminist edge. I suspect had they been written by newcomers to publishing instead of by highly successful authors noted for […]

The Amazing Interlude explores the meaning of America

It was fitting that I read The Amazing Interlude  on July 4, because the plot of Mary Roberts Rinehart’s novel grows out of a young girl’s developing sense of what being an American means. The Amazing Interlude by Mary Roberts Rinehart Illustrations by the Kinneys. 1918 bestseller #3. Project Gutenberg ebook #1590. My grade: A-. […]

The Doctor is not a top Rinehart bestseller

Novels about doctors typically are tales about hard-working young men from poor families who, armed with only a stethescope, battle for justice, hand-washing, and marriage to millionaire’s daughters. Mary Roberts Rinehart’s The Doctor follows in that tradition. The Doctor by Mary Roberts Rinehart ©1935, 1936, 1963, 1964. This copy a Dell Edition, 1977 (paper) 448 pp. […]

Slim pickings among 1909 bestsellers

Some years see several novels that are unforgettably good.  Other years see novels that are forgettable. Most of the 1909 novels fall into that latter category. The most memorable of the lot are The Silver Horde by Rex Beach and The Man in Lower Ten by Mary Roberts Rinehart. Neither of these novels can be […]

K by Rinehart scrimps on happily ever after

Mary Roberts Rinehart’s  K  blends romance and mystery so satisfactorily that the unlikely plot coincidences aren’t noticeable until after the novel is back on its shelf. K by Mary Roberts Rinehart 1915 bestseller #5. Project Gutenberg EBook #9931. My grade B. When their circumstances fall below genteel poverty level, the Page women take in borders. […]

My nominees for best of 1919 bestsellers

Nine of the 10 bestsellers of 1919 are each about some aspect of the world war that had so recently concluded. The Re-Creation of Brian Kent by Howard Bell Wright is not only the oddball in the group, but it’s also easily the least good of the set. Scratch that. The Four Horsemen of the […]