Eben Holden (Irving Bacheller, 1900)

This is a very episodic book and if I tried to summarize the whole detail of the plot I’d be here all day. In the barest outline, Will recounts how Uncle Eb fled from Vermont carrying him on his back when he was only four years old. They found their way to Faraway, New York where they were taken in by the Browers. The Browers had lost their son not many years before and adopt Will as their own. As Will grows up, he falls in love with his adopted sister Hope, but thinks he’s lost her after she moves to the city to complete her music training and begins to mix with a much higher class of people than himself. Will becomes a journalist but puts his career on hold to enlist at the outbreak of the Civil War. He serves nobly, is wounded, and returns home to find Hope waiting for him. Their parents have kept it a secret, but they’ve hit hard times and are at danger of losing the house. At Christmas, Uncle Eb’s present to them is their lost son Nehemiah, who it turns out isn’t dead and is now a wealthy and respected man.

Inscription: signed Mrs. W.A. Leavitt on the front flyleaf.

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In the Palace of the King (F. Marion Crawford, 1900)

King Philip of Spain hates his more popular brother, Don Jon. Dolores, the daughter of the captain of the palace guard, loves Don Jon. Dolores and Don Jon want to marry, but her father, Mendoza, forbids it because obviously a marriage will be arranged for Don Jon with some foreign royal as a political alliance. The two take the first steps toward eloping, but then the Philip and Jon get into a scuffle and Jon is killed. Mendoza takes the wrap, because he idolizes the King with naive zeal. Dolores takes a drastic approach to saving her father’s life.