The Kingdom Round the Corner, Coningsby Dawson’s 1921 romance, is distanced by omniscient narration, riddled by implausible coincidences, and ultimately sunk by a main character as colorless as cream cheese.
In March 1919, Lord Taborley, familiarly called “Tabs,” leaves the service by the door of a hospital. Optimistically Tabs believes, “We find everything that we’ve lost or longed for, if we’ll only press on.”
He finds his beautiful, prewar girl friend has already pressed on.
Terry was 17 when Tabs left. At 22, she’s madly in love with a general who came up through the ranks. Before the war, General Braithwaite was Tabs’s valet.
Over innumerable pots of tea, the characters discuss the impact of the 1914-18 war. Terry is impatient for “what we’ve spent in the lost years,” while her aging father wants “the old world back—the womanly women, everybody labeled, and Beethoven.” Braithwaite wants a meritocracy. Tabs is comfortable with his inherited title.
Through Terry’s family, Tabs meets a lovely, thrice-widowed woman and her even more beautiful widowed sister.
Which of the three beauties will get Tabs?
Does anyone really care?The Kingdom Round the Corner: A Novel Project
By Coningsby Dawson
Illustrated by W.D. Stevens
1921 bestseller #10 Gutenberg E-Book #25702