The Masquerader

The Masquerader by Katherine Cecil Thurston

The Masquerader by Katherine Cecil Thurston

The Masquerader is part mystery, part romance and part political thriller – all tied up in one neat package. Nature has a way of sometimes making two people nearly indistinguishable in appearance. Such is the premise for this book. John Chilcote, a British politician, and John Loder, a man down on his luck meet by accident one night during one of London’s worst fogs. Chilcote, addicted to morphine, needs to escape his political responsibilities and presents an offer to Loder to exchange places occasionally. Loder, reluctant at first, finally accepts the proposal and finds he fits into Chilcote’s role – perhaps better than Chilcote himself. The exchanges become more frequent and lengthy. Loder, finding his way, discovers he is worthy of Chilcote’s position, especially during an international crisis, but when Chilcote reclaims his life, Loder’s accomplishments try to unravel. Two women are intimately involved in this story – one is Chilcote’s wife, Eve, who is a wife of convenience rather than love. The second is Lady Astrupp. We will say little about Lady Astrupp except that she adds a great deal of suspense to the story. In such a charade, things do not always go as expected. Does Chilcote break his drug habit? What becomes of Loder? Does Eve become suspicious as a wife might? Is the masquerade exposed by……but then I would be telling you more than you should know beforehand

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Bertram Cope’s Year

Bertram Cope's Year by Henry Blake Fuller

Bertram Cope's Year by Henry Blake Fuller

This novel was perhaps the most daring and affirmative LGBT literature of the first two decades of the 20th century in America. In this story, Bertram Cope is a young college instructor, about twenty-four years old (“certainly not a day over twenty-five”), who is pursued by men and women, both younger and older than himself. In writing this novel, Fuller had to carefuly craft his plot schemes so as not to offend the sensibilities of publishers. As a result, today’s reader is left somewhat, but not entirely, confused about the precise feelings that characters develop for one another by the end of the book. Nevertheless, no publishing house would touch it, which ultimately required that Fuller go the self-publishing route.

Bertram Cope’s Year was the first novel by an established American writer that dealt exclusively with the subject of homosexuality. Although it did not achieve the notariety it deserved at the time, it set the tone for the increasingly open discussion of gay themes in literary form.

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Washington Square

Washington Square by Henry James

Washington Square by Henry James

Washington Square is a short novel by Henry James. It is a structurally simple tragicomedy that recounts the conflict between a dull but sweet daughter and her brilliant, domineering father.

The book is often compared to Jane Austen’s work for the clarity and grace of its prose and its intense focus on family relationships. James was not a great fan of Washington Square itself. He tried to read it over for inclusion in the New York Edition of his fiction but found that he couldn’t, and the novel was not included. Other readers, though, have sufficiently enjoyed the book to make it one of the more popular works of the Jamesian canon.

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The White Company

The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Set during the Hundred Years’ War with France, The White Company tells the story of a young Saxon man who is learning what it is to be a knight. Raised by Cistercian Monks and rejected by a violent elder brother, Alleyn Edricson takes service with one of the foremost knights in the country. When Alleyn falls in love with the knight’s daughter, he must prove himself to be a courageous and honorable knight before he can win her hand. Alleyn and his friends set forth with the other men-at-arms to join Prince Edward in Bordeaux, from where they will take part in the Prince’s campaign into Spain. It is in Spain that Alleyn and others must prove themselves to be very valiant and hardy cavaliers.

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Seven Wives and Seven Prisons

Seven Wives and Seven Prisons by L.A. Abbott

Seven Wives and Seven Prisons by L.A. Abbott

This work the author claims is indeed a true story of how he happened to be married seven times to seven different women and the rollicking, hilarious events that led (or stumbled) to the marriages and the disassembling of each said marriage which happened oftentimes to land him in prison. The work becomes a very tongue-in-cheek diatribe of his obsessive zeal in ‘marrying the right one’, but is also the mirthful chronicle of said author’s very unconventional adventures.

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Hero and Leander

Hero and Leander by Christopher Marlowe

Hero and Leander by Christopher Marlowe

“Who ever lov’d, that lov’d not at first sight?”

The wonder-decade of the English drama was suddenly interrupted in 1592, when serious plague broke out in London, forcing the closure of the theatres. Leading playwrights took to penning languorously erotic poetry to make ends meet: so we have Venus and Adonis, The Rape of Lucrece – and Marlowe’s blazing masterpiece, Hero and Leander.

Marlowe’s poem became more notorious than either of Shakespeare’s, due not only to its homophile provocations but also to the scandal attaching to every aspect of Marlowe’s brief life, violently ended in a mysterious brawl, leaving the poem in an unfinished state.

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He Knew He Was Right

He Knew He Was Right by Anthony Trollope

He Knew He Was Right by Anthony Trollope

He Knew He Was Right is a novel written by Anthony Trollope which describes the failure of a marriage caused by the unreasonable jealousy of a husband exacerbated by the stubbornness of a willful wife. As is common with Trollope’s works, there are also several substantial subplots. Trollope considered this work to be a failure; he viewed the main character as unsympathetic, and the secondary characters and plots much more lively and interesting. (Summary by Wikipedia)

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The Master-Knot of Human Fate

The Master-Knot of Human Fate by Ellis Meredith

The Master-Knot of Human Fate by Ellis Meredith

A tale of two people, and their search for answers to unknown questions. Adam and Robin find themselves inexplicably alone after an apparent natural cataclysm, and are compelled to learn how to survive, how to endure, but most importantly to themselves, how to enjoy, understand their new roles in life, and understand each other.

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The Touchstone

The Touchstone by Edith Wharton

The Touchstone by Edith Wharton

Stephen Glennard’s career is falling apart and he desperately needs money so that he may marry his beautiful fiancee. He happens upon an advertisement in a London magazine promising the prospect of financial gain. Glennard was once pursued by Margaret Aubyn, a famous and recently deceased author, and he still has her passionate love letters to him. Glennard removes his name from the letters and sells them, making him a fortune and building a marriage based on the betrayal of another. (Summary by Wikipedia)

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The Trespasser

The Trespasser by D. H. Lawrence

The Trespasser by D. H. Lawrence

Brief Encounter meets Tristan and Isolde – on the Isle of Wight, under a vast sky florid with stars. The consequence is tragic indeed for one of the parties, Siegmund, when he sacrifices family life for a few days’ transcendent rapture. His lover, the self-contained Helena, is strong enough to bear a return to the scruffy suburbs. Redemption of a kind is granted to the deserted wife, Beatrice. But between these robust Lawrentian women Siegmund is cancelled out. His love-death is no cosmic swoon but a sordid exit in an unkempt box-room.

In this very British romance, there is no earthly escape from outworn attachments and life’s deadening routine

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