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Fiction: Vintage

Fiction: Vintage

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"Don't, Mr. Disraeli!", Brahms, Caryl, and S.J. Simon
101 Brahms, Caryl, and S.J. Simon "Don't, Mr. Disraeli!"
New York G. P. Putnam's Sons (c.1941) First American Edition Hardcover Very Good in Very Good dj Illustrated by (dj) Hewes 
[light shelfwear and minor soiling to bottom edge, some darkening to yellow cloth along hinges, internally quite clean; jacket lightly soiled, spine somewhat darkened and a bit mottled, one tiny chip at top of front panel, a little paper loss at top of spine (no text affected)]. Pre-postmodernist metafictional fluff by this wacky duo, which (according to their prefatory "Explanation") "is not a novel set in the Victorian age: it is a novel set in its literature. The characters move against a background of books read by the authors, and their adventures and pinned into time by glimpses of the giants of that era. The story progresses in a straight, if not orderly, line, but around it revolves a kaleidoscope of Victorian events; and, as the pattern changes, any event in this period may come into focus, bearing no relation to the date at which it occurred, except that broadly speaking it will have taken place between 1800-1900. This device has enabled the authors to prolong the life of some famous men and women and allow others to live before they have yet been born. In addition this treaty with time has made it possible for the authors to introduce a few beloved giants from their own age. Walt Disney, Thomas Beecham, John Gielgud, Noel Coward take their place in the pattern with Lady Caroline Lamb, Mr. Disraeli, and Lewis Carroll, while the Marx Brothers whirl the kaleidoscope around." (Sounds to me like a case for Thursday Next!) 
Price: 65.00 USD
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Six Curtains for Natasha [original title: Six Curtains for Stroganova], Brahms, Caryl, and S.J. Simon
102 Brahms, Caryl, and S.J. Simon Six Curtains for Natasha [original title: Six Curtains for Stroganova]
Philadelphia/New York J. B. Lippincott Company (c.1946) First Edition Hardcover Very Good+ in Good dj 
(price-clipped) [solid copy, some wear (board exposed) at bottom rear corner; jacket wrinkled/creased along top edge of front panel, some paper loss at corners and spine ends]. Satirical novel set against the backdrop of the Russian ballet; the fourth (and last) in the authors' series about the wacky misadventures of the Vladimir Stroganoff ballet company. (Sergei Diaghilev features throughout the story, alongside the fictional characters.) Originally published in England, in 1945, as "Six Curtains for Stroganova." 
Price: 25.00 USD
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Six Curtains for Stroganova, Brahms, Caryl, and S.J. Simon
103 Brahms, Caryl, and S.J. Simon Six Curtains for Stroganova
London Michael Joseph 1964 NO 3rd impression Hardcover Very Good+ in Very Good+ dj Illustrated by (dj design) Broom Lynne 
[good solid copy, light browning to page edges, shallow dent at top of rear cover; jacket slightly browned at spine, minor edgewear, one tiny tear at top of rear panel]. Satirical novel set against a backdrop of the Russian ballet; the fourth (and last) in the authors' series about the wacky misadventures of the Vladimir Stroganoff ballet company. (Sergei Diaghilev features throughout the story, alongside the fictional characters.) Originally published in 1945; the U.S. edition (1946) was entitled "Six Curtains for Natasha." 
Price: 12.00 USD
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The Elephant is White, Brahms, Caryl, and S.J. Simon
104 Brahms, Caryl, and S.J. Simon The Elephant is White
New York Farrar & Rinehart (c.1940) First Edition Hardcover Good+ Illustrated by Robert Robison 
(no dust jacket) [moderately worn copy, spine turned, spine cloth faded and white spine lettering rubbed; attractive small label (like a miniature bookplate) on front pastedown]. (line drawings) One of this writing team's scarcer works, a satirical novel about a young Englishman who falls in with a group of down-and-out White Russian emigres in Paris, who have banded together in a kind of anti-socialist social club known as the White Elephants. Its philosophy is explained by one of its members: "We serve no useful purpose. We have no place in the struggle for existence. We refuse to contribute to the evolution of the Superman. We are here on this earth entirely as spectators. It is unfortunate that in order to watch we have to eat. It is thus impossible for us to attain one hundred per cent efficiency in indolence. But we do our best. We live untidily and straggle through our days." Filmed in England in 1944 as "Give Us the Moon." 
Price: 100.00 USD
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Doubting Thomas, Brebner, Winston
105 Brebner, Winston Doubting Thomas
New York Rinehart & Company, Inc. (c.1956) First Edition Hardcover Very Good in Very Good dj Illustrated by (dj design) Ben Feder, Inc. 
[shelfwear and bumping to bottom corners, age-toning to edges of text block (typical of Rinehart books in this period), overall a clean and solidly bound book; jacket moderately edgeworn, light rubbing/soiling, small pull-tear in rear panel]. Novel -- sorry, "magical tale" -- about "a man in an unnamed city, holding down an unrewarding job in a wonderfully bureaucratic organization called simply The Agency, returning each evening to his dissatisfied and unsatisfying wife." His miserable existence is leavened only once a year, "at Holiday time, [when] he assumes his secret identity and becomes the most beloved man in the city" -- a clown. (That capital-H "Holiday," it turns out, is a bit of a clue, for in some circles -- although in no way pitched as such on the book jacket itself -- this is considered a science fiction novel, set (in the words of one source) in "a computer-ruled Dystopia," in which the protagonist's annual clowning "during the State Holiday" serves as a means for the author to explore "the metaphysical pathos of clowning in a world that disallows any element of Revel." All of which makes it sound a bit "1984"-ish, although I'm not quite sure it lives up the claim of the jacket blurb, namely that you should like this book "if you admire Franz Kafka and adore Cocteau." I suspect there's a reason that "Brebneresque" has not entered our lexicon.) 
Price: 20.00 USD
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A Penny for the Poor, Brecht, Bertolt (translated from the German by Desmond I. Vesey; verses translated by Christopher Isherwood)
106 Brecht, Bertolt (translated from the German by Desmond I. Vesey; verses translated by Christopher Isherwood) A Penny for the Poor
New York Hillman-Curl, Inc. 1938 1st U.S. edition Hardcover Very Good in Poor dj 
[book itself is solid and internally clean, some soiling and light shelfwear to top and bottom edges; the jacket, however, has had about as many bad things done to it as you can imagine: it's been laminated (which has resulted in considerable yellowing/discoloration, trimmed a bit along the top and bottom edges, and the flaps are glued to the pastedowns; some of the laminate has also been peeled away, which doesn't help matters much]. A novelization, essentially, of Brecht and Kurt Weill's "The Threepenny Opera." Jacket-blurbed as "an unashamed and outrageous epic of roguery triumphant -- a rollicking, full-blooded story, whole-hearted in its descriptions of rascality and corruption," this translation was first published in England in 1937 by Robert Hale. A not-especially-pretty example of a fairly scarce book. 
Price: 150.00 USD
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Eden Seekers, Breitfeld, Rose
107 Breitfeld, Rose Eden Seekers
Boston Meador Publishing Company (c.1948) First Edition Hardcover Good 
(no dust jacket) [spine cloth faded (gilt title still fully readable), top corner of ffep cut away, light bumping to several corners]. Uncommon novel which (from my brief skim of it) seems to be a tale of Jewish village life in some unspecified Eastern European location. (I've seen it described elsewhere as a "fantasy romance about a group of people that follow a town 'crier' for a round of constant parties and romance," which may be a grab from the jacket blurb (no jacket present on this copy to help me, alas) but I honestly cannot discern any "fantasy" element.) This seems to have been the only foray into fiction by this author, who was better known (although "known" is probably an exaggeration) for several books on psychic matters. 
Price: 25.00 USD
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God Got One Vote, Brennan, Frederick Hazlitt
108 Brennan, Frederick Hazlitt God Got One Vote
New York Simon and Schuster 1927 First Edition Hardcover Good 
(no dust jacket) [decent copy, binding intact, internally clean; a little staining to boards, paper spine label partially torn away, one-time owner's large pencil signature on ffep, remnant of vintage bookseller label (unidentifiable) on rear pastedown Novel about the rise of a political boss in a middle-sized American city, painted with a wide brush. A contemporary reviewer caught the flavor of the book: "There is a continuous procession of officeholders, ward heelers, business men, reformers, conventionalists of the underworld and conventionalists of the overworld. There are chapters on how elections were won or lost which have a great deal to do with the case, and chapters on the Spanish-American War, a trip to Europe and the poignant passing of a girl that have less. It is a book as muddled and redundant as the scene it creates. And it has few dull lines." 
Price: 20.00 USD
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Eden Clay, Brewer, Walpole
109 Brewer, Walpole Eden Clay
Philadelphia Dorrance and Company (c.1928) First Edition Hardcover Very Good 
(no dust jacket) [moderate shelfwear, foxing/spotting to top edge, front hinge a little weak, horizontal scrape to gilt spine lettering in first word of title]. (illustrated endpapers) "The frank and original Chronicles of a young Doctor serving as an Interne in the Knickerbocker Maternity Hospital of New York City," as related a friend back home in a series of "Dear Joe" letters. It should be noted that "back home" is Georgia, and that the author/narrator displays the prejudices of his background, at one point experiencing "a feeling of Nausea" after discovering that a young Swedish woman who he's been called on to attend in the late stages of her pregnancy is married to (gasp) "a full-blooded, black-as-the-Ace-of-Spades West Indian Negro." (In fact, in the course of his assigned duties he encounters a wide variety of New York's ethnic minorities, and generally has something rude or borderline racist to say about most of them.) This was apparently the author's first and only book, and one might reasonably assume that it was somewhat autobiographical. 
Price: 40.00 USD
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It's Cleaner on the Inside [*SIGNED*], Bright, John
110 Bright, John It's Cleaner on the Inside [*SIGNED*]
London Neville Spearman 1961 NO First Edition Hardcover Very Good in Very Good+ dj Illustrated by (dj design) Elizabeth Fort Signed by Author
[spine a little turned, boards a little bowed, shallow dent at top of front cover, light age-toning to page edges; jacket just a bit edgeworn, one tiny tear at top of spine, another tiny closed tear at top of front panel, light soiling to rear panel]. INSCRIBED and SIGNED by the author on the ffep (see addtional note below). The second of only two books published by this noted screenwriter during his lifetime (and his only novel to see print), this Dostoyevskian tale of a rebellious young man who works his way up in the San Francisco underworld until "tragedy, horror and disintegration" land him in San Quentin was published only in England. This was not unrelated to the fact that the author -- one of the founding fathers of the Hollywood chapter of the Communist Party USA -- had essentially gone into self-imposed exile in Mexico not long after having been interrogated by HUAC investigators in 1950. (Although he had broken with the Party some years before, his radical sympathies were undiminished, and he wanted to avoid being subpoenaed for public testimony before the Committee and thus being placed in a "naming names" situation.) As interviewer par excellence Patrick McGilligan discusses in his introduction to Bright's posthumously-published memoir, "Worms in the Winecup," the book was a fictionalized version of the life of his friend and one-time screenwriting partner Robert Tasker, whose five-year stretch in San Quentin had been the springboard for his own writing career. (Among the pair's shared credits were the 1937 Warner Bros. picture SAN QUENTIN.) The book is inscribed "For Davey -- who knew Pete Jameson too -- " ("Jameson" being the Tasker surrogate in the novel); the identity of the inscribee is unknown, and no likely suspect appears in the index to Bright's memoir. [PLEASE NOTE that the middle four pages of the last signature in the book have become detached, although this will not be in any way apparent unless the book is opened to those pages.] Signed by Author 
Price: 85.00 USD
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New Bed, Brill, Edith
111 Brill, Edith New Bed
New York Greenberg: Publisher (c.1934) NO 1st (U.S.) edition Hardcover Good 
(no dust jacket) [reading copy only, considerable general wear, bumping to corners, scrape on fore-edge with resultant gouging to page edges in about half the book, etc.; apparently an ex-rental library book, stamped on ffep with bookshop name (The Boulevard Book Shop, Sherman Oaks, Calif.) and a charming bit of advice ("Please treat me as you would any guest in your home")]. Novel in which a spirited 18-year-old London girl, for some reason or another, enters into a platonic marriage with a dour, puritanical older man, and goes off to live with him in the bleak north country of England. Complications ensue when the husband's cousin, a "madcap musician," comes to stay. The New York Times critic found it "replete with all the faded trappings of a fiction school that should be allowed to rest peacefully and undisturbed in its grave." [Originally published in London, 1931.] 
Price: 15.00 USD
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The Flutter of an Eyelid, Brinig, Myron
112 Brinig, Myron The Flutter of an Eyelid
New York Farrar & Rinehart (c.1933) NO First Edition Hardcover Very Good Illustrated by Lynd Ward 
(no dust jacket) [hinges a little weak (in front, due to neat removal of ffep), spine slightly turned, shelfwear to bottom edge and spine ends, gilt lettering on front cover still bright and easily readable, gilt title and publisher on spine a little rubbed, but still legible; partial front jacket flap affixed to front pastedown, tiny bookseller's rubber stamp (Stowe's Book Shop, Portland) on rear endpaper]. (chapter-head illustrations) Very scarce novel set in Southern California in the 1920s, and a lost classic if there ever was one. One modern-day commentator has observed that the book was "killed by neglect" (receiving only a single review -- a pan -- in the Saturday Review of Literature), but as Kevin Starr relates in "Material Dreams: Southern California Through the 1920s," its fate may have been a bit more complicated than that. The book was, in fact, a scabrously satirical portrait of Southern California's bohemian community, and in particular of prominent L.A. bookman Jake Zeitlin and his circle of friends and associates (which included Merle Armitage, Edward Weston and others). Since it was Zeitlin himself who had originally introduced the author to this group -- invited him in, essentially -- he quite justifably viewed the book as an "insulting betrayal" (Starr's words), and in fact took steps took legal steps against it. Starr observes that Brinig's caricature of Zeitlin ("Sol Mosier" in the book) was anti-Semitic "even by the most forgiving of standards," and Zeitlin, having seen a set of galleys prior to publication, threatened a lawsuit and thereby succeeded in having the most offensive passages removed from the book prior to publication. In spite of (or maybe because of) being out of print for over eighty years, the book has achieved a kind of quasi-mythic reputation, and has been cited as both a landmark in Southern California fiction and an early gay novel. David Fine, who discusses it at some length in his excellent book "Imagining Los Angeles: A City in Fiction," describes it as possibly "the strangest novel to come out of the territory -- a novel not set in Hollywood or dealing with the making of movies, but saturated with every fantasy and dream associated with the region." It's also admired (if that's the word, and maybe only by California-haters) for its apocalyptic finale, in which the state is struck by a massive earthquake and (you guessed it) falls into the ocean -- "not the first or the last time," writes Starr, "this fate would be dealt by fictionists to the Pacific Coast." (It's this latter aspect that also earned it a mention in Mike Davis's "Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster.") 
Price: 350.00 USD
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Man Made Angry, Brooke, Hugh (pseud. for Tim Brooke)
113 Brooke, Hugh (pseud. for Tim Brooke) Man Made Angry
New York Ray Long & Richard R. Smith, Inc. 1932 NO First American Edition Hardcover Fair 
(no dust jacket) [basically a reading copy only: an ex-rental library book, stamped as such (Excello Circulating Loan Library, Schenectady, NY) on both endpapers and pastedown; text from jacket flap glued to front pastedown, one-time owner's name and date at top of ffep; book is well-worn but intact; a reader has included his assessment of the book in pencil on the ffep, deeming it "English psychological stuff in the horror field; not at all bad"]. Uncommon crime novel, set in London, about a young poet who finds himself deeply involved in the sensational events surrounding the exploits of a Jack the Ripper-type killer ("the Vampire") who's afoot in the city. Critic James Agate (quoted on the preserved jacket flap) thought it "an extraordinary mixture [of] the matter of Edgar Allan Poe, the manner of Mr. Evelyn Waugh, and a hero who might be brother to Mr. [H.G.] Wells' Kipps," and stated that he had "seldom been so horrified and never more greatly entertained." The author, a contemporary of Christopher Isherwood's at Cambridge, was a minor screenwriter who eventually made it to the U.S., where he became an even more minor writer (and producer of a single feature film), whose sole achievement of note was an adaptation credit on DONOVAN'S BRAIN (1953). 
Price: 35.00 USD
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The Boiling Point, Brooks, Richard
114 Brooks, Richard The Boiling Point
New York Harper & Brothers (c.1948) First Edition Hardcover Very Good+ in Very Good- dj Illustrated by (dj design) [Philip] Grushkin 
[good solid copy, bottom front corner bumped, mild shelfwear to bottom edge; jacket missing several small pieces at edges/corners, some paper loss at both ends of spine (no text or illustration affected by any of these small missing bits)]. The screenwriter-almost-director's second novel, in which a labor agitator stirs up political and racial tensions in a small Southwestern town. A jacket blurb by Humphrey Bogart (who appeared that same year in KEY LARGO, written by Brooks) calls it "the most gripping novel I have read in many years," but the New York Times critic begged to differ, opining that the book was "preachy and melodramatic [and] unsatisfactory as a novel, [but] still quite a good scenario." Brooks made the leap from writer to director just two years later with CRISIS, returning just once more to the novelistic trenches, with "The Producer" (1951), before devoting himself exclusively to the cinema. 
Price: 30.00 USD
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The Boiling Point [*SIGNED*], Brooks, Richard
115 Brooks, Richard The Boiling Point [*SIGNED*]
New York Harper & Brothers (c.1948) First Edition Hardcover Very Good+ in Very Good dj Illustrated by (dj design) [Philip] Grushkin Signed by Author
[nice tight copy, light shelfwear to bottom edges; jacket has a tiny chip at the top of the front panel, an even tinier one at the bottom of the rear panel, some rubbing to the rear panel, slight fading to spine]. SIGNED and DATED (February 1948, the month of publication) by the author on the ffep. The screenwriter-almost-director's second novel, in which a labor agitator stirs up political and racial tensions in a small Southwestern town. A jacket blurb by Humphrey Bogart (who appeared that same year in KEY LARGO, written by Brooks) calls it "the most gripping novel I have read in many years," but the New York Times critic begged to differ, opining that the book was "preachy and melodramatic [and] unsatisfactory as a novel, [but] still quite a good scenario." Brooks made the leap from writer to director just two years later with CRISIS, returning just once more to the novelistic trenches, with "The Producer" (1951), before devoting himself exclusively to the cinema. Signed by Author 
Price: 200.00 USD
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A Preface to Maturity, Brousseau, Jule
116 Brousseau, Jule A Preface to Maturity
New York Thomas Y. Crowell Company (c.1935) First Edition Hardcover Very Good+ in Very Good- dj Illustrated by (dj design) Arthur Hawkins Jr. 
[good sound copy, minor shelfwear, some fading to cloth at spine ends, one-time owner's name/address stamped on top edge, fore-edge and ffep; jacket edgeworn, with various small nicks and tears, a bit of paper loss at both ends of spine, some surface-scraping to front panel, shallow chip at bottom of rear panel]. Novel about a young woman from Weehawken, New Jersey, who finds her only pleasure in music. Escaping from home (and a domineering mother), she attends Columbia University, and subsequently tries to "find herself" while making a precarious living in New York. The New York Times reviewer called the novel "an unusual book and one that must be taken seriously," but at the same time regretted that the author had expended her obvious gifts as a writer on a protagonist who is "humorless, self-absorbed and a good deal of a prig." The author wrote just one other novel, "Episode on West 8th Street" (1941) before fading into obscurity. 
Price: 65.00 USD
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Applause [*SIGNED*], Brown, Beth
117 Brown, Beth Applause [*SIGNED*]
[New York] Horace Liveright 1928 NO First Edition Hardcover Near Fine Signed by Author
(decorated black buckram; no dust jacket) [very nice copy, tight and clean, virtually unworn except for slight rubbing to gilt lettering at base of spine] SIGNED and DATED (January 1929) by the author on the half-title page. Story of backstage life in a sleazy vaudeville house, memorable as the basis for the technically innovative early talkie directed by Rouben Mamoulian. Signed by Author 
Price: 125.00 USD
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Riverside Drive, Brown, Beth
118 Brown, Beth Riverside Drive
New York E.P. Dutton & Company, Inc. 1936 5th printing Hardcover Good in Good dj Illustrated by (dj design) Maurer 
(price-clipped) [shelfworn along top and bottom edges of covers, light soiling and age-toning to page edges, binding solid, internally clean; jacket heavily edgeworn, small tears and tiny chips at most corners, numerous small creases & wrinkles, internally tape-reinforced at corners and spine ends]. A three-generational New York saga, centered around the women of the Farrell family: "the gay and fetching Florrie, popular music hall star, who gives up the stage to make her father's inn the show place of the famous river front"; her daughter Carol, "poet, mystic and dreamer [whose] roots are planted deep in the magnificent mansion her mothers builds for her"; and Carol's daughter Julie, a "sophisticate [whose] runaway marriage makes her an exile in Europe," but who can't escape the fact that "deep in her veins flow the irresistable waters of the Hudson." 
Price: 50.00 USD
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Hetaira, Brown, Cornelia Dodd
119 Brown, Cornelia Dodd Hetaira
Chicago Ralph Fletcher Seymour (c.1933) NO First Edition Hardcover Near Fine in Very Good dj 
(price-clipped) [nice tight copy, no significant wear, just a trace of dust-soiling to top edge, small sticker-removal scar on ffep; jacket moderately edgeworn (dog-eared along top edge due to slightly oversized jacket), a few insignificant tears, soiling to (blank) rear panel, a couple of internal tape repairs/reinforcements along top edge]. You gotta love a book by "a profound interpreter of human nature [who] has studied intensively in Europe and is a follower of one of the new European schools of psychoanalysis. She has practiced this science as well as given lectures upon psychological subjects. Now she has begun to publish popular analytical studies in which, through the medium of fascinating novels [like this one!], complicated psychological types are made understandable to the layman." A Google search revealed the entirely relevant fact that the author was a member of the Chicago Women's Club in 1914; no doubt she was still gracing that very group with her lectures, lo these many years later. 
Price: 45.00 USD
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With Trailing Banners, Brown, Estelle Aubrey
120 Brown, Estelle Aubrey With Trailing Banners
Toronto McClelland and Stewart 1930 First Canadian Edition Hardcover Very Good+ 
(no dust jacket) [solid clean copy, slight bumping at all corners, very slight exposure of boards at bottom corners, small vintage bookseller's stamp at bottom of front pastedown]. Another unknown book by another forgotten author (my speciality!). Born in 1877, she served in the United States Indian Field Service (the educational wing, if you will, of the Bureau of Indian Affairs) from 1902 until 1918, when she married and (according to one brief biography) commenced her writing career, which wasn't especially prolific: in addition to this book, she published only two others, plus a play ("Woman of Character") written for a cast of nine women. Although she sometimes drew upon her expierences with Native Americans in her books, this particular one is set in a village in upstate New York, close to the Canadian border, and deals with (in the words of a contemporary viewer) "country life at its lowest level." One writer lauded the novel as showing "deep insight into the problems of adolescence and into the ideals of womanhood," one of those comments that doesn't really say anything at all. The author's scrapbooks are held in the archives of the Arizona Historical Society, should you care to investigate her ouevre further. 
Price: 50.00 USD
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Thunder in the Heart, Weldon, John Lee
Thunder in the Heart
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