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Forty Minutes Late 1909   By: (1838-1915)

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Francis Hopkinson Smith weaves a heartwarming tale in his novel, Forty Minutes Late. Set in the early 20th century, this enchanting story unfolds in a small seaside town, where unexpected twists of fate collide with the everyday lives of its inhabitants.

Smith's writing displays a remarkable ability to transport readers back in time, capturing the essence of a bygone era. Through vivid descriptions, he paints a vivid picture of the quaint coastal village, immersing readers in its idyllic charm. The author's attention to detail is admirable, as he meticulously describes the characters' surroundings, making the setting come alive with each turning page.

The novel primarily centers around the protagonist, John Langdon, a young lawyer who finds himself at a crossroads in his life. Smith masterfully delves into the intricacies of John's character, exposing his hopes, fears, and desires. John's struggles and dilemmas are relatable, and readers will find themselves invested in his journey of self-discovery.

The plot unfolds at a leisurely pace, mirroring the gentle rhythm of life in the seaside town. Smith effortlessly weaves together multiple subplots, seamlessly integrating them into the main narrative. From love affairs and family secrets to unexpected encounters with strangers, the author effortlessly intertwines these elements, creating a rich tapestry of interconnected lives.

One of the novel's most commendable aspects is its exploration of human connection. Smith masterfully portrays the dynamics between characters, highlighting the bonds of friendship and family. Through his writing, he effectively brings out the intricacies of these relationships, exemplifying how they shape and define us.

Furthermore, Smith employs his fine eye for detail to craft well-rounded and multi-dimensional characters. Each individual is imbued with their own distinct traits and quirks, making them feel like real, living beings. From the eccentric Mr. Gates to the gentle and compassionate Emily, the novel's supporting cast adds depth and richness to the narrative.

Forty Minutes Late is a tale that evokes a sense of nostalgia, transporting readers to a simpler time. With its captivating storylines, well-crafted characters, and exquisite prose, it is a novel that will resonate with readers who appreciate literary works that celebrate the human experience.

In conclusion, Francis Hopkinson Smith's Forty Minutes Late is a charming and evocative novel that captivates readers from beginning to end. With its beautifully rendered setting, well-developed characters, and thoughtful exploration of human connection, it is a literary gem that will leave a lasting impression.

First Page:


By F. Hopkinson Smith


It began to snow half an hour after the train started a fine grained, slanting, determined snow that forced its way between the bellows of the vestibules, and deposited itself in mounds of powdered salt all over the platforms and steps. Even the porter had caught some puffs on his depot coat with the red cape, and so had the conductor, from the way he thrashed his cap on the back of the seat in front of mine. "Yes, gettin' worse," he said in answer to an inquiring lift of my eyebrows. "Everything will be balled up if this keeps on."

"Shall we make the connection at Bondville?" I was to lecture fifty miles from Bondville Junction, and had but half an hour lee way.

If the man with the punch heard, he made no answer. The least said the soonest mended in crises like this. If we arrived on time every passenger would grab his bag and bolt out without thanking him or the road, or the engineer who took the full blast of the storm on his chest and cheeks. If we missed the connection, any former hopeful word would only add another hot coal to everybody's anger.

I fell back on the porter.

"Yes' sir, she'll be layin' jes' 'cross de platform. She knows we're comin'. Sometimes she waits ten minutes sometimes she don't; more times I seen her pullin' out while we was pullin' in... Continue reading book >>

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