HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Dorothy’s Double: The Story of a Great Deception
Author: G. A. Henty
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 8 and up
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Henty, G. A. Dorothy’s Double: The Story of a Great Deception (originally published in 1894; republished in 2014 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform). Eighteen year old Dorothy Hawtrey lives with her wealthy father who owns homes in London and Lincolnshire. Her mother died, along with a twin sister, not long after Dorothy was born. After turning down several other proposals of marriage, Dorothy is now engaged to the young, up-and-coming Lord Halliburn, Under-Secretary for the Colonies. All of a sudden, Dorothy starts receiving letters implying that she has been involved in some kind of scandal. Then there are reports that she, or, it turns out, someone who looks very much like her, has defrauded some merchants out of jewelry and fine clothing and even fooled an old family friend, Mr. Singleton, out of a large sum of money. Dorothy is so distraught that she calls off her engagement, and her father takes her to meet up with friends on a vacation to Switzerland.
Meanwhile, Dorothy’s dearest neighbor and friend from childhood, now thirty-something Captain Edward (Ned) Hampton, is home on leave from his tour with the British army in India, helps to investigate the matter, traces Dorothy’s double to America, and decides to follow her from New York City, through New Orleans, to the gold rush fields of California, almost losing his life in the process. Will Ned ever catch up with this impostor? What will happen to Dorothy? And why are all of these mysterious events occurring? Usually when homeschoolers hear the name of G. A. Henty, they think of boys’ adventure stories about strong, courageous young men. Dorothy’s Double is different. It is more of a Victorian English mystery with a touch of the old, “wild, wild” American west.
However, the book is still a good story for all ages with several noteworthy characters who serve as good examples, some evil individuals whose lives sound forth important warnings, and a couple of people who start out bad but learn various needed lessons and reform their lives. There are a few minor references to drinking port, smoking cigars, and dancing, but for the most part, the book is wholesome with no major objectionable elements. The only language issue is that the common euphemism “gosh” appears once. The ending may seem a little too pat and almost unbelievable for some readers, but it is typical Henty. After a rather long hiatus, I really enjoyed reading another G. A. Henty novel again. I just wish that I had purchased something other than the CreateSpace edition because they are not always easy to read with their crowded pages and small print.