Graustark Thrills in Storybook Setting

George Barr McCutcheon’s Graustark begins as a mystery, but quickly turns into a romance before accelerating into a thriller climaxed by a story-book ending.

On an east-bound train from Denver, Grenfall Lorry meets the lovely Miss Guggenslocker heading back to the Graustark capital, Edelweiss, accompanied by her aunt and uncle.

With help from the Paris postal service, Lorry and his Harvard pal Harry Anguish set out to find Lorry’s dream girl. When they find her, she turns out to be the princess of Graustark, and Graustark is in the throes of a financial crisis.

Castle in the Night
Castle in the Night

Lorry and Anguish overhear a plot to kidnap the princess. In true  American hero fashion, they rush in to save the day, thereby creating a real muddle. Every time Lorry opens his mouth, the muddles gets messier.

Graustark is the literary equivalent of a Strauss waltz, full of sound and movement, engrossing but not distinctly memorable.

McCutcheon provides enough castle dungeons and moonless mountain chases to satisfy the most devoted fans of gothic fiction. He’s less strong when it comes to developing character.

His Princess Yetive is a heroine worthy of the terms—smart, courageous, wise beyond her years—but she has all those characteristics from the first chapter. Between them, Lorry and Anguish manage to fill the hero role. Aside from falling in love, the men are basically unchanged by their experiences.

Like the characters, readers will be wrapped up in the events of the novel, but remain unchanged by anything they read in its pages.

Graustark: The Story of a Love Behind a Throne
By George Barr McCutcheon
1901 Bestseller #8
Project Gutenberg e-book #5142
Photograph “Castle in the Night” by Adiju
© 2011 Linda Gorton Aragoni

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Linda G. Aragoni

I make big ideas simple for learners. In eight sentences, 34 words, I taught teens and adults to write competently. Now I'm writing guides to turn willing volunteers into great nursing home visitors.

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