John Gale watches soldiers building a military post on the Yukon River and thinks, “The trail ends here!”
Necia Gale, his daughter, sees Lieutenant Burrell and thinks her trail is just beginning.
The Barrier by Rex Beach
[Harper’s, 310 pp.] 1908. 1908 bestseller #2.
Project Gutenberg ebook #4082. My grade: B.
In its first chapter, The Barrier prepares readers for a romance in which the Kentuckian’s bias against non-whites will have to be overcome.
Predictably, the young people fall in love.
But prejudice is trivial compared John Gale’s problem.
Gale’s difficulties are revealed slowly while readers see the kind of man he is and speculate on what he might have done in his early years.
Stark, a saloon-keeper, and his rascally companion, Runnion, arrive in Flambeau just as “No Creek” Lee finds gold. Stark puts up a tent and by nightfall is in business taking money from those who aim to strike it rich.
Poleon Doret, who has loved Necia for years, gets only sisterly love and a commission to find out if Burrell means to marry her.
I won’t reveal the ending which is as quarter-turn left of predictable.
Aside from Necia, the characters, too, are just unusual enough to keep readers’ full attention.
Necia, sad to say, is just a pretty face with nothing between the ears.
© 2016 Linda Gorton Aragoni