Posts Tagged ‘templebailey’

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Edwardian/WWI-era fiction at Edwardian Promenade

February 1, 2012

There have been a lot of articles and blog posts floating around lately about what to read if you’re into Downton Abbey. One in particular, which talked about Elizabeth von Arnim apropos of one character giving a copy of Elizabeth and Her German Garden to another, made Evangeline at Edwardian Promenade say, “hey, what about Elinor Glyn?” Which, obviously, is the correct response to everything. And then I read it, and thought, “yeah, Elizabeth and her German Garden was popular when it came out in 1898, but would people really be trying to get each other to read a fifteen year-old(ish) novel by a German author during World War I?” And then we decided that we could probably come up with an excellent list of Edwardian and World War I-era fiction that tied in the Downton Abbey. And so we did.

It’s a pretty casual list, mostly composed of things we came up with off the tops of out heads, a bit of research on Evangeline’s part and a bit of flipping through advertisements on mine, so we’re making no claims to be exhaustive. If you have suggestions for additions to the list, leave a comment.

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The Trumpeter Swan

December 6, 2010

The more I read by Temple Bailey, the more unsure I am about how I feel about her books. Judy was delightful. Glory of Youth had its moments, but mostly I found it kind of irritating. The Trumpeter Swan is never irritating, exactly, but it’s definitely never delightful, either.

It’s one of those post-WWI novels, where every young man in sight has gone and been heroic overseas, and now they’re home and they don’t know what to do with themselves. And The Trumpeter Swan is a lot more explicit about that theme than a lot of books are, but underneath all of the complaining about how unappreciated the returning soldiers are, there’s not a lot going on. I mean, it’s theoretically a WWI novel, but it’s actually one of those books where an assortment of young people get paired off. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Glory of Youth

June 24, 2008

It will be pretty obvious to regular readers of this blog that I’m a fan of romance novels from the 1910s. We’ve got the Williamsons, Elinor Glyn, Eleanor Hallowell Abbott, and Marie Conway Oemler, among others. And now we have an entry from Temple Bailey, last seen here as the author of Judy.

Glory of Youth was Temple Bailey’s first novel, and it’s a full fledged romance, with all the typical plot points and not one but two beautiful orphans. In fact, to read this book, you’d think that Bettina Dolce was unusual for nearly reaching adulthood before her mother died. No one else in the book has visible parents.

Not that Bettina technically has a visible parent either, since her mother dies before the story begins. But Diana Gregory’s was also orphaned at an early age, as was Justin Ford. Anthony Blake, the fourth main character, never mentions his parents, but he’s about forty, so it is less weird.

For the first several pages, Temple Bailey lets you believe that the book is going to be about Anthony and Bettina. Anthony was Bettina’s mother’s doctor, and now that Bettina is left alone in their gloomy apartment, he still visits and tries to take care of her. She’s young and inexperienced and he has to talk her out of moving to the city — Boston, I think — to find work. Also, she’s very beautiful, with pale skin and long golden hair which she apparently inherited from her father’s Venetian ancestors.

Eventually Anthony asks Bettina to marry him because it’s the only way he can think of to protect her. He’s in love with his old friend Diana, but she refused to marry him, went abroad, and is now apparently engaged to a German guy named Ulric. Bailey doesn’t say so, but I think proposing to Bettina is a bit of retaliation on Anthony’s part. Anyway, Bettina doesn’t know he’s not in love with her, and she thinks she’s in love with him, so she accepts.

And then Anthony gets a letter from Diana saying that she’s no longer engaged to Ulric and is coming home. Oops.

Diana arrives, accompanied by her widowed friend Sophie and ready to marry Anthony, only to find that he’s engaged himself to an eighteen-year-old in her absence (Diana’s in her early thirties). And I like Diana, mostly, but she was kind of asking for it. I mean, Ulric? Seriously.

Diana immediately asks Bettina to move in with her, saying that Anthony’s friends should get to know Bettina before he marries her. For the same reason — what ulterior motive could she have? — she tells them to conceal their engagement for a little while. Meanwhile, Anthony’s young friend Justin Ford spends a lot of time mooning over Bettina when he’s not flying around in his airplane.

There’s the usual passel of misunderstandings, and Anthony and Diana spend a lot of time worrying over whether Bettina is going to ruin his life because she doesn’t like that he’s a doctor and she gets grossed out when he operates on people. Diana, of course, is a perfect nurse, and all the patients at Anthony’s sanatorium love her.

Eventually Anthony realizes Bettina and Justin are in love, although not until Justin has been in a nearly fatal accident, and everything is cleared up. The endings of books like this are always unsatisfying somehow. It seems to be difficult to have the characters retain their personalities when they’re happily in love.

But in spite of the fact that the endings of these hundred-year-old romance novels ever fail to disappoint, and that I’m fully aware when I’m reading most of them that they’re not very good, there’s something I really like about them. The characters’ feelings about each other are always so intense, and it’s kind of…well, cute. Glory of Youth is definitely cute, but it hasn’t got a lot else to recommend it.

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Judy

March 4, 2007

If you crossed an L.T. Meade book with Anne of Green Gables, you might get something a little like Judy, by Temple Bailey. But it probably wouldn’t be as cute. Read the rest of this entry ?