sid: (glasses and book)
"Life's Shop Window", by Victoria Cross, copyright 1907, 371 pages.

This is the oldest of the novels from Grandma's trunk, so far at least.  The action begins somewhere around the turn of the century.  Meet Lydia, sixteen years old and incredibly lovely.  And sort of incredibly full of herself, or in love with her own loveliness, or something.  She's hot and she knows it.

My first big problem with Lydia/the author/this book is that Lydia is five feet eight inches tall.  In 1900?  That is freakishly tall.  I happen to know that about fifteen years ago, the average MAN in the United States was 5' 8".  Fortunately, all the men she meets are even taller.  (*sulks*  I know how tall the average US man was 15 years ago because that's when I looked it up to find out if it was really my imagination that at 5' 10" I towered over nearly every man I met.)

Lydia is a housemaid/nanny on a farm in England.  A stranger comes to study farming.  Or something.  It doesn't matter, because he will be spending all his time pursuing Lydia.  His name is Bernard.  He convinces Lydia that they should get married.  So they sekritly elope.

Read more... )


sid: (glasses and book)

First off, let me say that to my astonishment this novel proved to have a fannish connection for me! In the 2008 [livejournal.com profile] gateverse_remix , [livejournal.com profile] synecdochic  did marvelous things with one of my stories, and she based her remix on a famous book by... Robert W. Chambers! Read about my squee here, with appropriate linkage.

Now on to the book!  It's copyrighted 1918, but I think it may have been serialized in a magazine before that.  Our plot: young Stephanie Quest, the child of druggie ne'er-do-wells, is not-so-tragically orphaned at age 9.  She is taken in by the kindly immigrant family next door, but they can barely feed their own children, and two years later her name appears in the newspaper on a Christmas charity list.  Enter John Cleland, well-to-do widower with a teenage son away at school.  He adopts her.  Er, and finally gets around to telling his son when he meets the kid at the train station when he comes home from school for vacation.  I guess he really didn't have any choice at that point!

Anyway, the little girl absolutely adores her big brother.  Skip ahead a few years, observe some heavy-handed foreshadowing, and find Mr. Cleland dead on the floor.  In his will he instructs Stephanie to learn a trade (so she takes up nursing) and tells his son Jim, who wants to be a writer, to go spend two years in Europe.

Jim makes the mistake of staying in Europe for three years instead, and only comes home when Steve (for so she is called) wires him that she's gotten married to Oswald Grismer, an old schoolmate (but not chum) of Jim's.

Let the idiocy begin! 

 

more under the cut )



 

sid: (Team WTF)


The Keeper of the Door, by Ethel M. Dell, 1915

I actually started out enjoying this book quite a bit.  There was a definite Harlequin-esque element, with the heroine hating the hero at first sight, which was comfortably familiar.

ETA: You can read the book here, or download it here.

 

Read more... )
sid: (pretty Books)

Totally. Warped. I skimmed, because actually reading became far too painful.

Claire, 1919

Starts out with a blind guy going down with a sinking ship.  He winds up washing ashore somewhere in remote Chile.  He trips over something soft on the beach, which turns out to be Claire.  There were already many clues that this was not going to be a particularly well-written book, but I completely gave up when, while Claire and blind guy were talking, her eyes flashed from hazel to brown.  He's blind... she's not looking in a mirror....  Hey, I'm as fond of shifting POVs as the next gal, but I've allowed myself to be edumicated as to some of the pitfalls.

They wind up in a cabin with a fellow named Philip.  1919, two men and a woman stranded in a cabin until spring comes. 

Read more... )

~~~~

What kind of crack were they smoking back then?  This is what made the hearts of housewives and shopgirls race?  *boggles*  I've still got half a dozen more books to look at, but now I'm afraid to.  *looks at bookshelf with loathing*
 

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