Best-Selling Novels of 1897

Suggest and discuss books to read (all languages welcome!)
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Post by ColleenMc » January 17th, 2019, 5:27 am

1. Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz

Already on Librivox, one version.

2. The Choir Invisible by James Lane Allen (1849-1925)

"The hero is John Gray, a schoolmaster and idealist, who, disappointed in his love for Amy Falconer, a pert, pretty, shallow flirt, gradually comes to care for Mrs. Falconer, her aunt, a noble woman in reduced circumstances, who with her husband has left a former stately home in Virginia and come to live in the Kentucky wilderness. She loves him in return with a deep, tender passion that has in it something of the motherly instinct of protection; but, her husband being alive, she conceals her feeling from Gray until after he has departed from Lexington and settled in another State. She then writes him to say she is free—and he replies that he is married. But he tells her in a final letter that she has remained his ideal and guiding star to noble action. The romantic atmosphere and the ideal cast of these two leading characters make the fiction very attractive; and the fresh picturesque descriptions of pioneer life in Kentucky give the tale historical value." (from Reader's Digest of Books via

Text link (Project Gutenberg):
Wikipedia article on James Lane Allen:
Wikipedia article on The Choir Invisible:

3. Soldiers of Fortune by Richard Harding Davis (1864-1916)

"A romance of America’s nascent imperial power, Richard Harding Davis’s Soldiers of Fortune recounts the adventures of Robert Clay, a mining engineer and sometime mercenary, and Hope Langham, the daughter of a wealthy American industrialist, as they become caught up in a coup in Olancho, a fictional Latin American republic. " Description from the Broadview Press re-issue of the novel.

It also said that the popularity of this book was a factor in the US becoming involved in the Spanish-American War in 1898!

There are numerous works by Davis on Librivox already, but not this one.

Text link (Project Gutenberg):
Wikipedia article on Richard Harding Davis:

4. On the Face of the Waters by Flora Annie Steel (1847-1929)

"Historical novel set in 1850s India at the time of the Sepoy Rebellion or Mutiny of 1857, which led to the dissolution of the British East India Company." (from Goodreads)

Text link (Project Gutenberg):
Wikipedia article on Flora Annie Steel:
Wikipedia article on On the Face of the Waters:

5. Phroso by Anthony Hope (1863-1933)

"Lord Wheatley, looking for adventure, decides to purchase an island, Neopalia, a Turkish possession in the Aegean Sea. But when he travels there to take it over, the natives don't want to give it up, and they insist that Phroso be its ruler. Complications ensue when Wheatley falls in love with Phroso and a Turk, Mouraki Pasha, kidnaps her. Before he can possess either Neopalia or Phroso, Wheatley has to fight a lot of battles. " (from Goodreads)

Text link (Project Gutenberg):
Wikipedia article on Anthony Hope:
Wikipedia article on Phroso: - actually about the 1922 movie made from the book, but book references link here.

6. The Christian by Hall Caine (1853-1931)

"The Christian, [Caine's] most popular novel, is set in the late nineteenth century. The author sought to depict,'however imperfectly, the types of mind and character, of creed and culture, of social effort and religious purpose which I think I see in the life of England and America..'" (from Goodreads)

Text link (Project Gutenberg):
Wikipedia article on Hall Caine:

7. Margaret Ogilvy by J.M. Barrie (1860-1937)

"A portrait of Barrie's mother, with insights into the effects of his brother's tragic early death" (from Goodreads)
"The book was written in tribute to Barrie's mother and includes family reminiscences. In the book, Barrie recounts his mother telling tales of her childhood, and credits her with inspiring his interest in literature." (from Wikipedia)

Text link (Project Gutenberg):
Wikipedia article on J.M. Barrie:
Wikipedia article on Margaret Ogilvy:

8. Sentimental Tommy by J.M. Barrie

Already on Librivox, one version.

9. Pursuit of the House-Boat by John Kendrick Bangs

Already on Librivox, one version.

10. The Honorable Peter Stirling by Paul Leicester Ford (1865-1902)

A novel of the late 19th century realism movement, detailing petty local politics in Brooklyn, based on the author's own abortive attempts to enter politics. Trivia: mainly became a best-seller due to a belief that the main character was a version of Grover Cleveland. (The author always denied this but the case seems strong when matched against Cleveland's life story; Cleveland himself was known to dislike the book!)

Text link (Project Gutenberg):
Wikipedia article on Paul Leicester Ford:

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