Soon into the story, the girls chance to meet Mabel Allison's mother and return Mabel to her. It's funny how lost parents are always found in a chance meeting in the same location where the lost child is. I am usually able to suspend belief in these cases, but I had trouble enjoying this particular reunion. I mean, really.
In fact, it makes me think of the blurb that appears in the back of the Altemus books. Keep in mind that Grace Harlowe was published by Altemus. The blurb reads, in part:
Really good and new stories for boys and girls are not plentiful. Many stories, too, are so highly improbable as to bring a grin of derision to the young reader's face before he has gone too far.Sorry, Altemus, your books do that, too.
Eleanor Savell continues to be extremely hateful in this book, although she does get reformed towards the end. I would prefer it if the mean girls would get expelled and banished to a faraway place. That would be more fun. Something like that happened to a mean girl in Lavell's Girl Scouts series. I like it when the mean girls get punished.
Meanwhile, Marian Barber becomes very friendly with a 29-year-old man named Henry Hammond. He influences her to dress up in expensive gowns with low necklines. She shuns her friends, and they can do nothing to help her. It turns out that Hammond is a thief and uses Marian to get money.
The relationship is very scandalous to me, since I see it from a modern point of view. Nowadays, I think the 29-year-old man would be getting a lot more than money from Marian, if you know what I mean. I also think that even in real life 100 years ago that the man would be getting more than just money.
Marian Barber is not to be confused with Miriam Nesbit, who was Grace's rival in the first and second books. At first I thought that Miriam was the one who was interested in the older man, then I realized that I was misreading the name yet again. This has been a problem for me since the first book. The author had no business making two important characters have extremely similar names.
I also noticed a bunch of dropped quotation marks in this book. Altemus got sloppy with this book, kind of like what Burt did with Harriet Pyne Grove's books. The saving grace is that the writing is good, unlike with Grove's books.
Grace is still close to perfect in this book, but I was happy when she and Eleanor break into an abandoned house in order to retrieve stolen property. There may be hope for Grace. Way to go!