The Clutch of Circumstance (Marjorie Benton Cooke, 1918)

Roberta is an American woman of German ancestry who marries Sir Ashton Trask, a member of the British War Office. Bobs doesn’t dislike Ashton, but he certainly loves her a great deal more than she does him. She’s openly flirtatious with a number of other men, one of them being Captain O’Toole. O’Toole is ostensibly in the British Army, but in secret he hopes to win his Irish homeland’s independence by collaborating with the Germans. With Roberta’s allegiance already torn between Germany, England, and America, it isn’t a difficult task for O’Toole to use her to get at Ashton’s war plans. They are, at last, discovered and arrested. Both are sentenced to death, but while O’Toole faces the firing squad, Roberta is spared that public humiliation on the condition that she kill herself. Bobs takes her punishment with remarkable calm, finding in it relief from the uncertainty of which side she should back, and in her final few days, she comes to realize how much she actually does love her husband.

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