Molly Make-Believe Sunk by Realism

Molly Make-Believe has a clever plot device and two witty lead characters that a better writer than Eleanor Hallowell Abbott might have developed into a marvelous novel instead of a merely pleasant diversion.

fountain pen and ink
Cornelia won’t pick up a pen to write to Carl

Carl Stanton, 32, a rubber broker suffering from rheumatism, is confined to his bed one Boston winter. His finacee, Cornelia, “big and bland and blonde and beautiful,” has gone to Florida with her mother.

Carl realizes Cornelia is stingy with affection when she refuses to write to him even weekly when she’s away.

Cornelia gives Carl an ad for The Serial-Letter Company, which advertises “Real Letters for Imaginary Persons.” Carl orders a six-week ‘edition de luxe’ subscription to love-letter serials, which he plans to paste into a scrap book to give Cornelia as a textbook for the “newly engaged girl.”

When the handwritten, clever, and utterly charming letters begin arriving from “Molly Make-Believe,” accompanied by appropriate gifts, Carl is entranced.

Up to that point, the novel is wonderful.

When Carl decides to find Molly, things fall apart.

The plot calls for detective work, and all Carl can do from his bed is hire a detective.

That’s not romantic enough for a romance novel, not even one whose hero is a rubber broker with rheumatism.

Molly Make-Believe
Eleanor Hallowell Abbott
Illus. Walter Tittle
1910 bestseller #9;  1911 bestseller #8
208 pages
Project Gutenberg ebook #18665

Photo Credit: “write if you want 2” by danjaeger

© 2013 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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