It is easier to name the novels from the 1912 bestseller list that are not my favorites than to pick the ones I like best. Here in no particular order are my favorites.
Their Yesterdays by Harold Bell Wright is either nostalgic or sentimental depending on how charitable you are feeling when you read it. I’ll admit it tugged at my tear ducts.
On a more cerebral level, however, Their Yesterdays is rather amazing technically. Wright breaks all the accepted novelistic rules and yet makes the novel feel right.
The Melting of Molly by Maria Thompson Daviess has to be on my favorites list because it made me laugh again and again. Molly is so droll, you just know you’d love having her live next door.
The Net by Rex Beach and Tante by Anne Douglas Sedgwick look at the dark side of human nature. Beach based his guns-and-gore novel on the true adventures of a New Orleans sheriff who took on the mafia. Beach’s fictional characters are not entirely believable, but the story overall was one I couldn’t put down long enough to eat dinner.
Guns are too physical for Tante, the aging pianist in the title role of Sedgwick’s novel. Tante’s weapon of choice is a sharper, less traceable instrument. Reading about how Tante schemes is like watching a snake eyeing its prey in one of those up-close-to-reptiles PBS nature shows. Sedgwick shows in shuddering detail how one twisted woman can ruin lives with a few ill-chosen words.
Remember, you can read any of these bestsellers free. They are all available from Project Gutenberg.org. My reviews give a link direct to the download page.
© 2012 Linda Gorton Aragoni