Posts Tagged ‘millionaires’ daughters’

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Our Square

January 15, 2012

In his two books of “Our Square” stories, Our Square and the People in it and From a Bench in Our Square, Samuel Hopkins Adams veers dangerously close to Eleanor Hallowell Abbott territory: everyone is named things like Cyrus the Gaunt, the Bonnie Lassie, the Little Red Doctor, or the Weeping Scion, and more than half the stories are adorable romances between peculiar young men and beautiful, wealthy young women, cookie cutter-like in their similarity. And if he never gets quite as twee as Abbott, he also doesn’t have her touch with hysteria.

But that’s not to say that the stories aren’t a lot of fun. Barring a few missteps and a dead dog, they are. Read the rest of this entry ?

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The Unspeakable Perk

October 1, 2011

I was totally fine with The Island Mystery until I read The Unspeakable Perk. Now I wish George A. Birmingham and Samuel Hopkins Adams had traded books. That way The Island Mystery would have been charming as it needed to be and The Unspeakable Perk would have been as cynical as it ought to have been. For the record, I am only comparing the two because they’re novels about American millionaires’ daughters on fictional islands. If you add in Romance Island, this starts looking dangerously like a trope.

That said, I like The Unspeakable Perk a lot better than The Island Mystery. If there is one thing Samuel Hopkins Adams is super consistent about, it’s his charm, and that’s one of the few things that will win me over to an otherwise unsatisfying book. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Little Miss Grouch

August 9, 2011

All you members of the fluffy romance contingent will not want to miss out on Samuel Hopkins Adams’ Little Miss Grouch, the most adorable and entertaining novel of transatlantic crossing that it’s ever been my pleasure to read. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Reviews at EP: Prince or Chauffeur?

May 17, 2011

So, hey. There’s this. Prince or Chauffeur? by Lawrence Perry, over at Edwardian Promenade.

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The Island Mystery

March 26, 2011

Mark recommended The Island Mystery, by George A. Birmingham, as a silly, fun book. And to be honest, that kind of made me nervous. I feel like I haven’t had a great track record with silly, fun books lately. I’ve been finding them silly, but not all that fun.

The Island Mystery was a little different. I wasn’t wildly enthusiastic about it or anything, but I liked it a lot better at the beginning than I did at the end, and I don’t think there’s anything about it that I’d want to change, except maybe the title, which is kind of lame and would work much better on a different book. Possible one featuring the Boxcar Children.

You know all those Ruritanian romances where the author makes up a small monarchy and plunks it down somewhere in the middle of Europe so that the hero can go have adventures there? The Island Mystery is a tiny bit like that, but really it’s about what would happen if you did plunk an imaginary country down in the middle of Europe. Because, if you think about it, the surrounding nations might be a bit upset by that, not to mention confused. Read the rest of this entry ?

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V.V.’s Eyes

October 25, 2010

V.V.’s Eyes, despite the silly title, is a Serious Novel, with lots to say about the position of women in society, factory conditions, and charitable giving. But it’s also got a dazzlingly beautiful heroine, illustrations by R.M. Crosby (who usually, and more fittingly, illustrated romance novels), and an inappropriately melodramatic ending. I was never entirely convinced that Henry Sydnor Harrison knew what he wanted the book to be. On the other hand, I was frequently impressed by what it was.

Contemporary reviewers seem to have thought that the central figure of the book is V.V. — Dr. V. Vivian, a lame slum doctor — and I suspect that that was Harrison’s intention. But I was never quite convinced by V.V., who was sometimes a Christ-figure, sometimes a child, and every once in a while a (reluctantly) angry idealist. But I was completely won over by Miss Carlisle Heth, who it seems pretty unfair not to call the central character. She gets the vast majority of the available page space, and we spend most of the book pretty deeply ensconced in her head. And it’s time well spent. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Advertisements: From the Car Behind

October 10, 2010

From Publisher’s Weekly.

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Reviews at EP: The Lightning Conductor

October 10, 2010

My October guest post is up at Edwardian Promenade: The Lightning Conductor, by everyone’s favorite husband-and-wife novel-writing team, A.M. and C.N. Williamson.

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The Agony Column

September 29, 2010

It’s really hot in London, and Geoffrey West is coping by going to the Carlton for breakfast every morning, partly because it’s a bit cooler there, and partly because it’s the only place where you can still get strawberries. The American girl who comes in with her father one morning has the bad taste to prefer grapefruit to strawberries, but she shares West’s fondness for the Personal Notices section of the Daily Mail, AKA the agony column. People use it to discreetly send messages, whether they be love letters, “fly at one; all is discovered,” or cryptic remarks about fish. And so it seems perfectly reasonable, if a little unconventional, for West to use it to communicate with the girl, with whom he has fallen in love at first sight. Read the rest of this entry ?

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From the Car Behind

June 10, 2010

From the Car Behind starts off really well, and I almost wish it hadn’t, because I wouldn’t have gotten so frustrated with it if I hadn’t liked the characters so much.

Allan Gerard is an executive at a car company — it’s called Mercury, but this was written before there really was a car company of that name — and he’s the usual romance/adventure hero, circa 1910: handsome, athletic, clean-cut, good-natured, and sensible. Also rich. He’s pretty much perfect, and I’m not quite sure how Eleanor Ingram manages to make him so likable. Or how someone like Jeffery Farnol manages to make essentially the same character profoundly irritating. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Little Eve Edgarton

May 11, 2008

And a third Abbott story — I’m stopping now, I promise — Little Eve Edgarton. This one is kind of peculiar. The hero, Jim Barton, is very shallow, and the heroine, Eve, is kind of a social moron, although she knows how to do pretty much everything, from cataloguing fossils to reviving people who have bee struck by lightning to making muffins. It’s hard to understand why Eve is attracted to Barton, unless it is because she, too, is determined to be shallow, and almost impossible to understand why Barton is attracted to Eve. By the end of the book, I’m still not convinced that they’re in love with each other.

The illustrations are rather nice, though. Read the rest of this entry ?

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It Happened in Egypt

May 9, 2007

I finished the final paper for my English class this morning — and if anyone wants to talk about characters who keep their crazy wives locked up a la Mr. Rochester, I’m your girl — and I finally have time to post about It Happened in Egypt, by A.M and C.N. Williamson, a book I actually ended up quoting in my paper. That may not have been the best idea, but it’s no worse than the time I quoted a Five Little Peppers book on one of my high school English finals. I just can’t keep the good books and the bad books from getting mixed up in my head.
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Romance Island

March 20, 2007

I imagine that Zona Gale had fun writing Romance Island. Unfortunately, Gale’s idea of fun consists mainly of long winded descriptions of indefinable feelings and repeated assertions that love is cooler than an island full of fabulous food and clothing where people can vanish into the fifth dimension at will. I’ve never been in love, so I guess I can’t really judge, but I would venture to disagree. Which would you rather be, the princess of a secret island with submarines and airships (in 1906) living in a nifty castle on a mountain with rooms full of treasure and a crypt, or the wife of a reporter living in an apartment in New York? To be fair, the reporter is independently wealthy, and has a yacht and a manservant named Rollo who speaks in aphorisms, but still.

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Slippy McGee, sometimes called The Butterfly Man

March 5, 2007

After enjoying Marie Conway Oemler’s A Woman Named Smith so much, I had to read Slippy McGee. And it’s a lot sappier, and less action-packed, but equally charming. Read the rest of this entry ?

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