When Robert Merrick's life is saved at the expense of the life of an eccentric but adored surgeon, the carefree playboy is forced to reevaluate his own path. Merrick embarks on a course of anonymous philanthropy, inspired by reading the doctor's private papers. An engaging and dramatic story of personal redemption and private sacrifice, this spiritual tale has served as an inspiration for both the stage and screen.
I found the timeframe most interesting. Taking place almost a century ago, the setting is modern, but it really felt like a time-travel in that the customs and manners are so different from now. Cars are referred to as coupes, for example. Luncheons are prepared and served. And the freedom to be involved in another's personal affairs with no one knowing about it is surprisingly easy and unencumbered. Life changing decisions were made about some characters without them being aware of what was going on at all. I am old enough to realize times have changed over the last hundred years, but just how, so directly, gives pause to consider. It was a charming diversion for me. I am drawn to think that novels I might read now or in the future could possibly be kept within this time frame. I don't know how to describe the ambience I found there. It had the feeling of twilight in the evening, where everything looks and feels strangely unreal, yet you know it is real.
This novel was made into a movie and then remade again in the 50's. Also written by this author are two that are probably more familiar through Hollywood's accomplishments: The Robe and The Big Fisherman.
It was a different way of envisioning what I read,, a very enjoyable experience. I would recommend this to those who like a good story with an old romantic movie flavor. It's a light, relaxing read that doesn't require much at all from it's reader yet is very satisfying.