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The Fifth Wheel

A Novel

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Published: 1916
Language: English
Wordcount: 72,663 / 210 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 81.6
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 1,201
Added to site: 2006.10.03 14702

Ruth Vars, with a "brilliant match" ready for marriage, revolts against her useless, conventional life--just a "Fifth Wheel to a Coach" she calls herself--and her dramatic experience in the world of loving and working follows in consequence.

Show Excerpt

hat forms the entrance of the arbor near the orchard. I happened to be alone for a moment. I finished my tea without haste, and then placing the cup and saucer on a cedar table near-by, I decided it would be pleasant to escape for a little while the chatter and conversation of the two or three dozen women and a handful of men. Unobserved I strolled down underneath the grape-vines.

I walked leisurely along the sun-dappled path, stopped a moment to reach up and pick a solitary, late wistaria blossom, and then went on again smiling a little to myself and wondering just what my plan was. I know now that I intended to waylay Breckenridge Sewall. His attitude toward Hilton had had somewhat the same effect upon me as the No Trespassing and Keep Off signs when I was younger. However, I hadn't gone very far when I lost my superb courage. A little path branching off at the right offered me an opportunity for escape. I took it, and a moment later fell to berating myself for not having been bolder and played my ga

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 5 from 2 reviews: *****

A good book about a girl who matures into a women.


Although this novel does contain a romance or two, the real emphasis of the plot centers on the character Ruth Vars. The story shows how she starts as a debutante looking for a rich husband, and slowly changes into a mature woman of strong principles who isn't afraid to financially support herself. The dialogue is realistic and modern for 1916. Women's rights is a topic woven throughout the book, but never in a "preachy" way. The relationships between the characters are interesting, and all of the characters evolve along with Ruth. Excellent writing by the author of "Now, Voyager" and "Stella Dallas".



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