The Princess Passes is flawed but fabulous

Every so often a flawed novel comes along that is delightful in spite of its deficiencies.

The Princess Passes is one of those.


The Princess Passes: A Romance of a Motor-Car

by Alice Muriel Williamson and Charles Norris Williamson

Illus. Henry Holt, 1905. 1905 bestseller #9. Project Gutenberg eBook #14740 My grade: C+ .


Having proposed and gotten a kiss, Lord Montague Lane is shocked to hear at dinner the announcement that his love will marry “the richest grocer in the world” instead of himself.

Monty accepts friends’ invitation to let them drive him to Lucerne where he can go on a walking tour down into Italy while his broken heart mends.

Alert readers will see in chapter two how the story will end—and that’s long before they’ve met the Princess.

Though the plot of the romance is familiar, the Williamsons redeem The Princess Passes by presenting Marty as a late-Victorian Rick Steves: an adaptable, uncomplaining traveling companion with a sense of humor.

Monty chats knowledgeably about history, literature, art, architecture, and local cuisine.

His descriptions of Alpine scenes are virtual reality immersions without the fancy headsets. Witness:

The shadows lengthened and thinned, like children who have grown too fast.

Monty is delighted by his guide’s description of a precipice as rocks that “go down immediately, not bye-and-bye.”Photograph of Annecy with moutains in background.

The sense of being there with Monty is heightened by a combination of whimsical drawings and what appear to be vintage photographs.

Such genial companionship transforms a so-so novel into a fictional travelogue that made me wish for a map and a video footage of Monty’s trek.

© 2015 Linda Gorton Aragoni

Lord Loveland Discovers More Than Just America

If the 13th Marquis of Loveland “had been a plain or stupid boy he might have grown up to be an estimable young man.” Neither plain or stupid, he becomes both broke and insufferable.

He’s forced to go to America in search of a rich wife.

Loveland accepts free passage on the Mauritania in place of a man who cannot travel for health reasons and authorizes his former valet to sell his ticket for the Baltic. On board ship, Loveland attracts attention for his looks, hauteur, and all-too-obvious fortune-hunting.

Loveland would willingly wed Miss Lesley Dearmer, an American author whose looks and personality intrigue him, but the grapevine says she has no money.

Through accidents compounded by his insolence, Loveland finds himself in New York broke, friendless, without even a change of clothes, and charged with impersonating Lord Loveland.

A series of madcap misadventures, teaches Loveland  the world does not revolve around him.

Lord Loveland Discovers America is by the husband and wife team of Charles Norris Williamson and Alice Muriel Livingston. They leave little doubt how the romance will end, but they keep readers hooked to the last chapter to learn what led to the accusation that Loveland was an imposter.

Despite a predictable plot and hackneyed characterization, Lord Loveland is irresistable.

Lord Loveland Discovers America
By C. N. Williamson and A. M. Williamson
Illustratrations by George Brehm
Project Gutenberg EBook #39984
1910 bestseller #7