Posts Tagged ‘romance’

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Found Yet Lost

October 12, 2017

I went to a very nice book sale last weekend and…accidentally bought a book I already had. This is what comes of buying books and then not reading them.

Anyway, it was Found Yet Lost, by Edward Payson Roe, and this time I read it immediately. It’s a Civil War story. There’s this girl, Helen Kemble, and two men have been in love with her since they were all children. Albert Nichol is a captain in the Union army, and is presumably everything that is fine and upstanding. He and Helen are not quite officially engaged. Hobart Martine is unspecifically disabled, and therefore is not regarded by anyone as a legitimate love interest.

Nichol is struck by a shell and left to rot in a ditch, and Martine, wanting to do Helen a service, goes South to see if he can recover the body. He doesn’t find it, but he does talk to Nichol’s men and to other soldiers from their town, and impresses everyone with his courage. Then he goes home for just long enough to form a deeper friendship with Helen and her parents before returning to the South to work as a nurse.

After the war, he and Helen get closer, and she slowly falls in love with him. Roe seems to feel this requires an excuse, so: apparently Helen feels things very deeply but her feelings don’t necessarily last. Great. Martine is inclined to think she just pities him, but eventually he’s convinced, and they make plans to get married.

Just before the wedding, he’s summoned to Washington, DC to see a sick cousin. In the hospital, he runs into Nichol, who has amnesia and an unpleasantly altered personality. Come on, you knew that was coming, right? Martine has to decide whether to tell everyone, or pretend he never saw Nichol, but Martine has never done an underhanded thing in his life, so he brings Nichol home with him and does his very best to spare unpleasantness to everyone but himself.

There’s also a short story at the end of the volume, about a farmer’s daughter who comes home after spending time in the city. Her father is worried that she won’t be satisfied with their simple life anymore. She wants to know if her fancy city suitor shows up as well in the country as he did in town. It’s cute.

It’s not bad, this book. But it’s not good enough for me to want two copies. Does anyone want one?*

*I’ll mail it anywhere in the US. I don’t want to make a big giveaway thing out of this. I’ll give it to whoever wants it and if more than one person wants it priority goes to frequent commenters.

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Patty Blossom

May 18, 2017

For once, we’ve got a reasonably coherent plot in Patty Blossom. Wells uses the advent of a pair of ridiculous Bohemian types to draw out Patty’s feelings about Phil and Bill, and she finally comes to decisions about both of them.

Sam and Alla Blaney don’t call themselves Bohemians — they claim that only fake Bohemians do that. They’re pretty caricaturish, though. Alla wears shapeless cloths in ugly colors and parts her hair in the middle, and Sam has long hair and writes odd poetry. And actually, if there’s something that’s solidly in Carolyn Wells’ skillset, it’s parodying poetry, and I feel like there should be more of that here. I’m not a huge fan of Wells’ verse, and if one of her mysteries entertains me more than in irritates me I count it as a win, but I do like it when Wells’ other selves find their way into the Patty books. Read the rest of this entry ?

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The Christmas Bride

May 8, 2017

I don’t actually want to write a review of Grace Livingston Hill’s The Christmas Bride, but I do want to say:

  • Those of you who were like, “okay, but sometimes the religious stuff is way too much”? I didn’t get it before. I get it now.
  • Apparently what’s wrong with the world is that I am not in Israel.
  • The hero will not give any of his vast fortune to charity because it stops people from being self-reliant.
  • GHRHHRA;GHGHDGASDLLGF
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The Story of a Whim

May 5, 2017

I reread The Obsession of Victoria Gracen the other day, and it left me wanting a very specific Grace Livingston Hill thing: Good people doing things, and triumphing over bad people who are overtly small-minded and cruel. Victoria Gracen is firmly in that category, and so is Aunt Crete’s Emancipation, but her other books I’ve read only have it in small quantities.

Anyway, I poked around on Google Books, and chose The Story of a Whim for its title. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted–for one thing, there are no bad people–but it’s a cute religious romance and I enjoyed it. Read the rest of this entry ?

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The Guests of Hercules

April 26, 2017

I love Alice Williamson, but I don’t trust her at all, so when she was like, “Here, check out Mary Grant. She was brought up in a convent in Scotland and she has ‘wild blood.’ I’m going to take her to Monte Carlo!” I was worried.

A.M. and C.N. Williamson, collectively (and probably also individually), loved Monte Carlo, but I normally avoid their stories set there because reading about gambling makes me extremely anxious. I was excited when The Guests of Hercules opened with a wealthy young girl going out into the world after deciding at the last moment not to be a nun–but only for about a minute, because Alice Williamson isn’t, say, Margaret Widdemer, and when her heroines go out into the world alone, it isn’t always kind to them. Also I’ve, you know, read books before, so from the first mention of Monte Carlo, my brain was shouting, “No, stop, she’s going to get addicted to gambling and lose all her money.” Then a little later I began to wonder whether everything was leading up to an attempted murder. I’m actually not sure how I managed to get through the book.

The things I feared happen roughly as I expected them to happen (I have read books before) but Alice Williamson makes it alright. Read the rest of this entry ?

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The Brown Study

January 12, 2017

I have this embarrassing secret, only it’s not particularly secret and I don’t know if I’m embarrassed: sometimes I really like religious fiction. Yes, sometimes it’s cloying, and I’m not into that. But sometimes it’s Amy Le Feuvre being weirdly mystical, or G.K. Chesterton doing whatever the hell he ever thinks he’s doing. And sometimes it’s the kind of thing Grace S. Richmond writes, where religion is about firm ideals and practical good deeds and it’s almost not condescending. I’ve never had a particle of religious belief, but those ideals are compelling, and I don’t need religion to (to a certain extent) share them. Also, you know what else is compelling? Passionate, tortured, hidden self-denial. And The Brown Study is, like, 70% that.

I’ve read so few of Richmond’s books, but they’ve all featured attractive young clergymen, so I’m forced to assume that’s a thing for her. The Brown Study’s variation goes like this: Donald Brown was the minister at a fashionable city church, but he had to take some time off for his health. He moved to a poor area and offers unofficial spiritual support to his neighbors. He realizes that he can do more good there than at his fancy church, and also that his new work makes him a better person, but his old friends all want him to come home, including the girl he loves.

It’s all spiritual pining and being nice to the neighbors, and I enjoyed it thoroughly–although I might regret the nice plates and carpets and things Brown has to leave behind almost as much as he does.

There’s a second, unrelated story to fill out the book. In it, young Julius Broughton schemes to get his sister Dorothy and his engineer friend Kirke Waldron to meet. Once they’ve done that, though, they don’t need his help–they’re perfectly capable of carrying their romance through as straightforwardly as possible.

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The Wyndham Girls

January 8, 2017

Books disappoint me a lot. Especially older ones, I think, although that may just be because they make up the bulk of my reading material. It seems to be easier to write the beginning of a story than to end it satisfyingly, and I guess that makes sense. I also have what sometimes feel like unnecessarily exacting expectations, especially for romance. Read the rest of this entry ?