Thursday, April 9, 2020

The American Adventure Series by Margaret Trent

I have a saved search for "A. L. Burt" on eBay due to my fascination with the books published by the A. L. Burt Company.  A. L. Burt published some outstanding juvenile series with very pretty dust jackets, and all Burt books are scarce.  I am attracted to both scarcity and beauty, which enhanced my interest in all Burt books.

While I do not collect any of A. L. Burt's books for adults, I do enjoy looking at the dust jackets and bare books.  The bare Burt books for adults sometimes have unusual designs on the covers.  If I had unlimited space, I would love to own all books published by A. L. Burt.  That is not feasible, so I am content to own some Burt juvenile books while I admire all of the books, both juvenile and adult, that come up for sale on eBay.

I also keep a lookout for any Burt series books unknown to me that could be worth reading.

In early February, I saw the following picture of three A. L. Burt books in my eBay feed.  

Hollywood Ho! caught my eye.  Actually what I thought I saw was Hollywood Ho, so I thought it was a book for adults about a "Hollywood ho."  Amused, I clicked on the listing to check it out.  I noticed the exclamation point and realized that the title meant "Hollywood bound."  My mistake was rather funny.  I posted about the listing on my Facebook page.

Throughout that evening, I kept thinking about the books, wondering about the two books by Margaret Trent.  Finally, I ran a Google search and learned that the books are two of the three volumes in the American Adventure series, which is a juvenile series.  I was intrigued.

The American Adventure series consists of three books written by Margaret Trent.

1.  Crossed Trails, 1932
2.  Hollywood Ho!, 1932
3.  The Hills of Home, 1932

I decided to purchase the listing since I had never even heard of the series.  The Margaret Trent books were obviously very scarce.  The only copies with dust jackets up for sale online were the two in the eBay listing.  There were only a very small number of bare books available online.  I wasn't going to miss out on the opportunity to check out an extremely scarce series previously unknown to me.

I didn't know if the Margaret Trent books would be readable, but it was worth a shot.  Sometimes A. L. Burt books are wonderful, and other times they are awful.  The dust jackets are always pretty, but the actual content of some Burt books is nearly unreadable.  I have long suspected that A. L. Burt took whatever authors sent without making any changes to the manuscript.  That's likely how Harriet Pyne Grove happened.

The books arrived, and I looked at the first few pages of one of the books.  The text seemed like it was of a type that I might enjoy, but I could tell immediately that I needed to start with the first book, which I didn't have.  Fortunately, I found just one copy of the first book for sale online and purchased it.  The book didn't have a dust jacket and cost more than the lot of three Burt books did.  It always seems to happen that way.

Just yesterday, I started reading the first book.  It had me on the very first page.  Margaret Trent's writing style is interesting and engaging.  Some of the content is quite different from most books that I have read.  I am optimistic that all three books will be worth reading.  I hope so, but I haven't forgotten that some series start strong and then fall apart.  Harriet Pyne Grove's Adventures Allens series is an example of a series with a promising premise gone bad.

I scanned some pages in Crossed Trails to give an idea of the content.  These first pages feature Mary.  Remember that you can click on the images to see a larger version.

These pages feature Bob, who is reckless but likable.

I usually dislike fight scenes, but I rather enjoyed Bob's fight.

These next pages feature Bob's introduction to New York City.  I love the way the city is described.

Mary and Bob's journeys will converge, which is why the book is titled Crossed Trails.


Melody said...

Great find! It's a shame some of these books can be so hard to get a hold of. I wonder what the copyright status of these are, be awesome if copies could get on Project Gutenberg.

Jennifer White said...

The books are in the public domain. Books as scarce as these tend not to show up on Gutenberg, since the only way they can show up is if someone who owns the book is willing to scan the pages.

I feel very strongly that the first book is one not to miss. The second book is the only one of the three that was available for sale online. It appears that nearly every copy that was up for sale has just sold since this blog post was published. The only one left is the most expensive copy. It appears that several people responded rather favorably to my post.

Back to my feelings on the first book... I am looking at putting scans of the first book here in a blog post. I have actually already scanned some of it. I might do a little more, post it, and verify that people care. I think they do, but positive reinforcement is always helpful. Sometimes I think people will care about something, and it turns out that they don't.

More specifically, I feel that I can do this fairly easily with minimal effort aside from creating the scans, and I should make sure that people can deal with how I want to do it. I'm not about to create an actual digital text. Someone else can use my scans to do that, if they care to devote the time.