The Two Vanrevels Tax Credulity

The Two Vanrevels is romantic melodrama set in the Ohio Valley in the hoop-skirted days before the Civil War.

When beautiful Miss Betty Carewe comes home from convent school, the first to see her, lawyer Tom Vanrevel, is immediately smitten. Tom’s profligate law partner Crailey Gray also succumbs to Betty’s charms.

Being unfamiliar with the town, Betty thinks the man she saw with her school chum, Franchon Bareaud, was Franchon’s fiance, Crailey. When Crailey comes courting, Betty thinks he’s Tom, the man whom her father hates for his abolitionist views.

Long used to covering for his parter, Tom continues to protect him even after he realizes Betty thinks he is Crailey.

The story ends in a dramatic denouement in the mode of the silent movies of the turn of the century.

Even readers who appreciate the mores that governed polite 19th century society will find it hard to swallow Booth Tarkington’s plot or believe his characters.

Wouldn’t a young girl who has only one friend in town naturally say to that friend, “Who was the man with you?”

Leave this novel lie with the frock coats and hoop skirts. It doesn’t deserve an airing.

The Two Vanrevels
By Booth Tarkington
A. L. Burt, 1902
351 pages
1908 #8
My Grade: C –
Project Gutenberg ebook #3428
© 2012 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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