Bab: A Sub-Deb by Mary Roberts Rinehart

I had only read a mystery by Mary Roberts Rinehart and I enjoyed it so when I read in a blog (sadly I can’t remember which blog) about her book called Babs – A Sub Deb and realised it was available on Project Gutenburg I thought I would give it a go. You can download it here.

The book was written in 1916 and is completely different from the book which I had read of hers before- The Circular Staircase, which I enjoyed but Bab: A Sub-Deb is an absolute hoot.

Barbara Archibald is the youngest in her family, there’s all of 20 months between her and her sister who has ‘come out’ and is husband hunting, so lives in a whirl of social engagements. Much to Bab’s disgust she is still treated very much as a little girl, but she runs rings around her family as her parents become more and more alarmed at her crazy exploits, usually involving boys/men.

It’s all very innocent but it doesn’t look good and even she has to admit that she takes things too far. Bab herself writes about her shenanigans and spelling isn’t one of her strong points, which is a bit off putting until you get used to it.

Appropriately for this time of the year the First World War does feature in this book with some of the young men going off to war. I’m a wee bit puzzled though because the book was apparently published in 1916 but the Americans didn’t go to war with the Germans until April 1917. Unless – the war that they were involved in was that 1916 one involving the US and Mexico, which also featured German spies.

I’m even more confused because I read this book back to back with another old one The Head Girl at the Gables by Angela Brazil which coincidentally was first published in 1919 (I had no idea those books were so old) and also features WW1, German spies and even the loss of a leather dispatch case. It’s amazing how often things like that happen when I’m reading.

Anyway, a fun read.

7 thoughts on “Bab: A Sub-Deb by Mary Roberts Rinehart

  1. It might have been from my blog – I reviewed Bab: A Sub-Deb in July, though I myself heard about it from Aarti of BookLust who reviewed it a few years ago. Glad you enjoyed it!

    I never put the book’s date of publication together with its World War I plotline. Rinehart did serve as a correspondent for a newspaper and went to Europe to cover the war in 1915. So I wonder, did Rinehart anticipate U.S. involvement by writing that part of the plot in the fifth section of the book? Was the patriotism of her protagonist reflecting Rinehart’s view that the U.S. should be involved? Interesting!

    • Christy,
      It must definitely have been your A Good Stopping Point where I read about it. I think you’re right, she probably was anticipating the US entry into the war. Dorothy Canfield was another US writer who was desperate for the US to get involved in the war too. Thanks for jogging my memory!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *