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Captivating Mary Carstairs   By: (1880-1930)

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Captivating Mary Carstairs by Henry Sydnor Harrison is a compelling and engrossing novel that takes readers back to the early 20th century, with a tale filled with mystery, romance, and suspense. Set against the backdrop of the aristocratic society in Charleston, South Carolina, this book masterfully intertwines elements of love, betrayal, and societal expectations to create a truly captivating story.

The protagonist, Mary Carstairs, is a young woman who, despite her privileged upbringing, longs for something more than the life of a Southern belle. With a curious mind and a strong will, she embarks on a journey to discover her true identity and purpose in a society that seeks to confine her to predefined roles.

Harrison's prose is elegant and evocative, effortlessly transporting readers to the sumptuous salons, opulent parties, and lush countryside. The author's attention to detail is exceptional, painting a vivid picture of the era and its societal norms, which serve as both a barrier and a catalyst for Mary's transformation.

The characters in Captivating Mary Carstairs are richly developed and multidimensional. Mary, in particular, is a complex and relatable protagonist who displays both vulnerability and resilience. As she defies convention and challenges gender roles, readers witness her growth and evolution, making her journey all the more inspiring.

The plot moves at a steady pace, with unexpected twists and turns that keep readers on the edge of their seats. From secret trysts to shocking revelations, the story is rife with intrigue and never loses its momentum. The romantic subplot adds another layer of depth, as Mary navigates her feelings for two very different suitors, further complicating her search for personal fulfillment.

At its core, Captivating Mary Carstairs is a thought-provoking exploration of identity, independence, and the constraints of societal expectations. Harrison skillfully delves into themes of women's rights, class divide, and the power dynamics that shape relationships. Through Mary's journey, the novel raises important questions about the choices individuals make in order to find their place in the world.

In conclusion, Captivating Mary Carstairs is a beautifully written novel that transports readers to another time and place. Its mesmerizing storytelling, well-developed characters, and thought-provoking themes make it a must-read for fans of historical fiction and those interested in exploring the complexities of female agency. Henry Sydnor Harrison has crafted a captivating tale that will keep readers entranced until the very last page.

First Page:





( This book was first published pseudonymously in February, 1911 )

1910, 1914.



This book, representing the writer's first effort at a long story, has something of a story of its own. First planned in 1900 or 1901, it was begun in 1905, and finished at length, in a version, three years later. Through the two years succeeding it underwent various adventures, including, if memory serves, two complete overhauling. Having thus reached by stages something like its present form, it was, in August, 1910, favorably reported on by the publishers; but yet another rewriting preceded its final acceptance, a few weeks later. Meanwhile, I had turned to fresh work; and, as it chanced, "Queed" was both begun and finished in the interval while "Captivating Mary Carstairs" was taking her last journeys abroad. Turned away by two publishers, the newer manuscript shortly found welcome from a third. So it befell that I, as yet more experienced in rejections, suddenly found myself with two books, of widely different sorts and intentions, scheduled for publication by different publishers, almost simultaneously. As this seemed to be more books than society required from an unknown writer, it was decided to put out the present story which is a "story," as I conceive the terms, and not a novel over a pen name... Continue reading book >>

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