Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

August Books 29) The Rosary, by Florence L. Barclay

This romance novel was apparently the best-seller of the year 1910, so I thought I would test the durability of its appeal. What immediately struck me was that this tale of the young English gentry working through the difficulties of their love lives in order to reach the safe haven of engagement and marriage is exactly the kind of thing that P.G. Wodehouse was parodying (there is even an eccentric Duchess with peculiar taste in pets here); so even if nobody actually reads The Rosary these days, it has a certain legacy.

It is well enough written - I certainly liked it much more than 1909's bestseller - with the plot concerning a youngish woman who turns down a proposal of marriage because she feels she is not beautiful enough for her artistic admirer, though she lies and tells him that he is too young for her. She then travels around the world, bitterly regretting her choice, and on hearing that her young man has been struck blind by a plot device, persuades a friendly doctor to allow her to nurse him while pretending to be someone else who just happens to have a similar voice to the woman he loves. Well, you can guess how it ends, but it would probably make a decent film, either set in 1910 or updated to the present. Though we might skip over the unexpected revelation two-thirds of the way through that she had gained nursing experience in the Boer War (why did this not come up earlier?) and I suspect that the author is not well-informed about Scottish marriage law (oh, darn, I gave away the ending).

The Rosary of the title, incidentally, was a very popular song of the day which our heroine sings, thus convincing our hero that she is the one for him. If you really want to hear it, I've found a Vera Lynn rendition on Youtube, though I could have done without the picture sequence.

And my friends list have satisfied me about the sperm.
Tags: bookblog 2010, writer: florence barclay
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