Reviews by C. Alan Loewen

The Lost Door

by Dorothy Quick

Dorothy Quick (1896–1962) (real name: Dorothy Gertrude Mayer) was known as a close friend of Mark Twain who encouraged her writing career when she was a young girl. They met aboard the S. S. Minnetonka in 1907. He was seventy-two years old, she almost eleven, and they remained close friends until Twain’s death in 1910.

The Lost Door contains every trope you could ever expect to see in a story about a vengeful ghost and aficionados of the genre are not going to be caught by surprise. The narrator inherits a French estate from his estranged father and he brings along his friend, Wrexler, to share in his unexpected windfall. There the narrator learns of a curse and the story is how the curse works itself out in the lives of the narrator and his friend. The ambiguous ending does lend a little bit of a The Lady or the Tiger-type ending, but for its length and Quick’s prose, the story is one worth reading.

Alan Loewen
http://www.amazon.com/Alan-Loewen/e/B009LLMD9K

Reviewed on 2014.07.17

Through the Outlooking Glass

by Simeon Strunsky

Simeon Strunsky, A.B. (1879–1948) was an essayist who wrote for several magazines and newspapers throughout his career.

This manuscript is reprinted from the New York Evening Post and its full title is Through the Outlooking Glass With Theodore Roosevelt.

The essay is a satire based on the familiar Alice in Wonderland tropes and is a criticism of Theodore Roosevelt's decision to run for a third term under the auspices of The Bull Moose Party.

Unless the reader is aware of the political climate of 1912, the essay is of little value and its use of Alice in Wonderland will fall flat on today's modern readers.

Needless to say, for historians, especially of the fin de siècle era of the 20th century, there may be some insights on the vitriol that greeted the formation of a third party by a popular ex-President.

Alan Loewen
www.amazon.com/Alan-Loewen/e/B009LLMD9K

Reviewed on 2014.01.11

The Dark World

by Henry Kuttner

It's a pity that Kuttner died at the age of 42 as he probably had a lot more stories in him than just the gems he left us.

The Dark World is one of his best about an American WW II veteran who suddenly finds himself in another world as a pawn between the forces of good and evil.

Very fast paced, the story of conflict is only a backdrop to the bigger question as to who the protagonist really is and on what side he truly belongs.

A very good pulp-era book and in this reviewer's opinion, a good read.

Reviewed on 2013.09.07

Viviette

by William J. Locke

Normally I do not read romance, but this book had come recommended to me and I surprised myself by reading it all in one sitting.

William John Locke (1863–1930) was born in British Guyana and also lived in Trinidad and Tobago as well as England. A proper English gentleman, Locke was a prolific writer.

Viviette was one of Locke's early works (researchers put the publication of this book in either 1910 or 1916) and it is an intriguing look at a world long gone that can seem odd and foreign to the modern reader.

The character of Viviette is a young 21-year old girl who had been adopted into the Ware family when she was only three years old. Charming and somewhat naive, modern readers may struggle with the idea she is being courted by her two-step brothers, one of them ten years her senior.

The story has a weak beginning, but quickly gathers steam into a very dramatic conflict as the love triangle between Viviette and her step-brothers degenerates into very serious conflict and the reader will sympathize with Dick Ware in what he perceives to be unrequited love as well as frustration with the immaturity and naivety of the title character. However, if the reader is willing to invest the time to read a story that takes place in a world and culture long gone, the novella is easily worth the time and effort.

Reviewed on 2013.07.30

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