Reviews of books by E.P.Roe
quoted from the original promotional material for his novels.
He Fell in Love with His Wife (1886)
This book was inspired by a newspaper account telling of a widowed farmer
who visited the county poor house, looking for a good housekeeper. He is
supposed to have said, "If there is a worthy woman here, I will marry her."
From the dust jacket:
"A simple, strong story of American life.
"The stern, silent hero is a farmer, a man with honest, sincere views of
life, and of sufficient education to make him an alien among the other
farmers. Bereft of his wife, to whom he had been sincerely attached, his
home is cared for by a succession of domestics of varying degrees of
"At last, from a most unpromising source, comes a young woman applicant
that the farmer feels is the housekeeper he needs. He decides to marry her
before she enters his service to protect them both from the coarse
suspicions of the villagers.
"Thus enters into the grim history of this man's life a romance as bright
and delicate as a golden thread, developing on both sides a love that could
surmount all difficulties and survive the censure of friends as well as the
bitterness of enemies."
The following reviews
are from a catalog included at the back
of an 1878 edition of "A Face Illumined"
Barriers Burned Away (1872)
"When so much trashy and soul enervating literature is issued under the
head of religious novels, it is refreshing to see one like the Rev. Mr.
Roe's Barriers Burned Away, written with an earnest purpose. Sensational,
and yet to good effects -- inartistic, as might be looked for in the young
author's first attempt, and yet unhackneyed, lively and fascinating." --
"The characters are delineated with truthfulness and consistency. In their
conception the author shows equal originality and boldness. Even Old Bill
Cronk, the rough, hard-swearing, hard-drinking, big-fisted, big-hearted
Western drover, could not be spared from the scene." -- New York Tribune.
"We congratulate Mr. Roe upon his story of the day." -- New York Observer.
What Can She Do? (1873)
"The moral purpose of this book is amply worthy of the author's zeal. It is
that young women should be educated in such a way that if left without
money they shall be able to support themselves. Mr. Roe is especially
severe on our American vice of 'pride of occupation.' " -- New York Evening
"We consider that parents are indebted to the author for the most practical
story of the day." -- Philadelphia Age.
"His works have an honest, healthy tone, and a purpose. His narrative is
full of interest -- in the present case unusually so. We must not forget in
particular to allude to his always charming bits of country life; his
gardening at once poetic and profitable." -- New York Evening Express
"The narrative is fascinating." -- Chicago Advance.
"An exceedingly well-written story." -- Churchman.
Opening of a Chestnut Burr (1874)
"In the Opening of a Chestnut Burr, Mr. Roe has made a marked advance upon
his two previous stories. He has already exhibited a remarkable power of
description, which in this volume he uses with good effect in the scenes of
fire and shipwreck. It is thoroughly religious, thoroughly Christian both
in tone and teaching." -- Harper's Magazine.
"The character of the selfish, morbid, cynical hero, and his gradual
transformation under the influence of the sweet and high-spirited heroine,
are portrayed with a masculine firmness, which is near akin to power, and
some of the conversations are animated and admirable." -- Atlantic Monthly
"The most able story that we have had from the pen of Mr. Roe. It is also
the best of the so-called religious novels published of late." -- The
"There are many stirring and dramatic scenes in the story, while its
quieter phases are not wanting in grace and sweetness." -- Boston Traveler.
"Mr. Roe has laid out his greatest power in depicting the character of the
heroine, who is a model of saintly purpose and ardent piety without losing
the peculiar charms of female loveliness. He is strong in his delineation
of character. All his personages have a clear, sharp-cut individuality, and
make a fresh and deep impression on the reader." -- New York Tribune.
From Jest To Earnest (1875)
"His plots are never commonplace. The change in Lottie's character is
well-delineated, and with a naturalness and artistic skill which we do not
often find in the so-called religious novels." -- Harper's Magazine.
"It is surprising to find how genuinely interesting his stories always are.
There is nothing of the vulgarly sensational about them." Eclectic
"Mr. Roe's books are religious novels in perhaps the best sense of the
term." -- Zion's Herald, Boston.
"A simple, pure story, such as Mr. Roe has always written, is one of the
most potent vehicles of moral and religious training that can be employed."
-- Buffalo Daily Courier.
"Mr. Roe's works have had a fine, noble purpose, each and all. The present
story is an excellent one -- of high tone and deep religious strength." --
Boston Evening Traveler.
"It is a thoroughly good story because pervaded by an influence thoroughly
pure." -- American Rural Home.
"The hero is simple, strong, and manly; much such a man as Mr. Lincoln must
have been had he turned his attention to theology instead of politics." --
New York World.
"A bright, vivacious story, full of wit and even frolic." -- Portland
"He vindicates his right to use the talent which God has given him for the
instruction and interest of the thousands who read his works." -- New York
Near To Nature's Heart (1876)
The story is set in the Revolutionary War, in honor of the American
"His heroine absorbs the main interest of the plot. She is a pure child of
Nature, with a limited experience of life, and none of society; but her
artless characters combines a treasure of noble principle, womanly
devotion, and high-souled conduct, which is rarely found among the fruits
of the choicest culture. Mr. Roe has no small sense of humor, and in the
course of the story makes excellent use of Irish oddities and the Irish
dialect to enliven the scene." -- New York Tribune.
"The stirring scenes of the Revolution afford ample material for dramatic
incidents, which are skillfully employed. Vera is by far the most original
of Mr. Roe's conceptions, and is drawn with very decided artistic skill."
-- Harper's Magazine.
The half-insane outlaw, the gentle and devoted wife, the one noble and
beautiful daughter, and old Gula the African, together form a remarkable
group." -- New York Observer.
"For while he tells a story admirably well, and paints character with the
skill of a master, he carefully eschews sensationalism." -- Albany Evening
"The plot is sufficiently complex, the story is told smoothly, and its
interest is well sustained throughout. His views are broadly catholic, and
his notions of morality and right living are thoroughly sound and
wholesome." -- Evening Post.
"In its plot it is original; in its diction it is eminently smooth and
graceful; and in its moral it is above all praise." -- Boston Evening
"The best of the author's stories." -- Christian Union.
"Mr. Roe is one of the most successful of American story writers, and his
last effort is an advance on his earlier books. A large amount of military
history is woven into the narrative, giving the work a certain solid value.
Larry, Saville's servant, makes fun for the million, his lusty wife, Molly,
aiding him in no small degree. The book is well written and deeply
interesting." -- Boston Literary World.
"The avidity and delight with which Mr. Roe's books are read is a most
hopeful sign, and shows that people will read what is good for them if only
they can get it." -- Advance, Chicago.
A Knight of the XIXth Century (1877)
"In the delineation of character, which enters into the development of the
plot, Mr. Roe shows his greatest strength; his characters are portrayed in
lively colors and with excellent effect. This preserves the narrative from
the monotony and commonplace which can scarcely be avoided in ethical
fictions, and is the secret of its success." -- New York Tribune.
"It is a book which those who begin will be pretty sure to finish, deriving
from it a new impulse to the truest knighthood." -- Harper's Magazine.
"It is eminently thoughtful, admirable constructed, and thoroughly
interesting from cover to cover." -- Philadelphia Saturday Evening Post.
"The whole tone of the work is manly and healthful. It is thoroughly noble
in all its teachings and tendencies." -- Utica Herald.
"The most charming book yet produced by Mr. Roe, and one of the very best
of its class ever written." -- Christian Union.
"Enhances the author's already well-established reputation. Mr. Roe is
sensational, but to a degree that is not unhealthy, and his books will be
less ephemeral than the general run of religious novels." -- Springfield
"This book contains the elements of perfect work, clearness and brilliancy
of style, conciseness and beauty of expression, a good plot, an
entertaining story, and a most excellent moral." -- Christian
"The characters are drawn from real life." -- Christian Union.
"Mr. Roe's style is never commonplace." -- Boston Courier.
"He has greatly improved the art of telling a story." -- New York Evening Post.
"His stories are uniformly of intense interest." -- Boston Home Journal.
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