The best of the 1917 bestsellers for 2017 readers

The 1917 bestseller list contains three novels that are definitely read-again novels for 2017:  The Red Planet by William J. Locke, His Family by Ernest Poole, and In the Wilderness by Robert Hichens. The only thing that common thread among my choices is that each is decidedly uncommon. A domestic novel: His Family I’ll start […]

The Red Planet turns light on heroism

The Red Planet is a memoir narrated by Duncan Meredyth, a widowed Boer War veteran living in a small English country village in 1914. Duncan is cared for my his ex-sergeant who was disfigured in the same shell blast that took Duncan’s legs. The Red Planet by William J. Locke 1917 bestseller #3. Project Gutenberg […]

Septimus seizes chances to be kind

Septimus is another of William J. Locke’s rollicking tales of eponymous characters who knock the traditional notion of the fictional hero into a cocked hat. The death of her husband from delirium tremens within six weeks of their wedding turned Zora Middlemist off marriage. Septimus by William J. Locke 1909 bestseller #10. Project Gutenberg eBook […]

Jaffery narrator gives perspective and poignancy

Jaffery is an odd novel in which war correspondent Jaffery Chayne, a character better suited to a graphic novel than a literary one, appears only sporadically. Jaffery by William J. Locke Illus. F. Matania. Publisher, John Lane, 1915. Project Gutenberg ebook #14669. 1915 bestseller #6. My grade: B-. Jaffery arrives back in England, escorting widow […]

The Fortunate Youth Makes Fortunate Readers

The Fortunate Youth is far from a literary masterpiece, but William J. Locke knows how to spin a yarn so ideas worth pondering stick to it. As the story opens, 11-year-old Paul Kegworthy  is living in a dirty industrial town with parents who are, in Locke’s tongue-in-cheek phrase, “not a model couple.” A beautiful visitor […]

Simon the Jester Finds Life Funny, Fulfilling

eu-moi-rous.  you MOI rus.  adj.  happy because of being innocent and good    Simon the Jester is an offbeat tale about a British M.P. with a highly developed sense of the absurd and the prospect of having no more than six months to live. When Simon de Gex, 37, gets his death sentence, he decides […]