Archive for September 27th, 2009

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The Port of Adventure

September 27, 2009

"Nick thought her adorable in her gray motor bonnet"

"Nick thought her adorable in her gray motor bonnet"

The Port of Adventure is mostly typical Williamsons — part romance, part travelogue, and a dash of adventure — but something about it leaves an Elinor Glyn-ish taste in my mouth. Maybe it’s the girl from Europe (sort of) traveling through the U.S., as in Elizabeth Visits America, or the unhappy marriage to a European prince, as in The Reason Why and Three Weeks, or the villainess’ generally Glyn-ish aspect, or the red-haired, green-eyed writer who seems like she could have been based on Glyn herself. So, yeah, there are lots of reasons, and much as I enjoy the Williamsons, they don’t compare well when they try to edge into Glyn’s territory. They don’t have her flair for melodrama, or the sharp sense of humor that makes it bearable.

Still, I got pretty invested in the relationship between princess-by-marriage Angela, traveling as a young widow, and former cowboy Nick, using his new oil fortune to see more of the country. They really do seem to have things in common, beyond both being rich and good-looking, but it’s hard to believe that two people can simultaneously instinctively understand each other and constantly misinterpret each others’ actions. Also, there’s a scene where Nick rescues Angela from stampeding cattle in the canary yellow car he named after her, which is probably the most hilarious thing ever to happen in a Williamsons book.

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Happy House

September 27, 2009

I read Jane Abbott’s Happy House for the first time in May. It’s different from the other Abbott books I’ve read in that it’s aimed at a slightly older audience, and also in that…well, it seems a bit more formulaic. But I like it a lot.

The main character is a girl who has just graduated from college. Her name is Anne Leavitt, and so is that of her best friend, but the protagonist is usually called Nancy. The two Anne Leavitts, along with their other best friend, Claire, are packing when a porter arrives with a letter addressed to one of the Annes — they’re not sure which. After reading the invitation from Sabrina Leavitt to her niece, they conclude that it belongs to Anne, not Nancy, but Anne is just about to leave for Russia to do something vaguely humanitarian, so she persuades Nancy to go in her place. Read the rest of this entry ?