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Posted July 22, 2012
A rocky road to love, with an extreme side trip. Hugh Ridgeway and Grace Vernon are two rich Chicagoans who are engaged to be married. Grace's aunt wants their nuptials to be the social event of the year, which the young couple really want nothing to do with, so they make the shocking decision to run off and elope in Manilla. After some odd adventures (eloping seems to have been a more complicated thing back in the early 20th century), our couple is on their way. As a disguise they are traveling as brother and sister. Their relationship is put to the test on this slow boat to China (er, Manilla) by other passengers. There's Henry Veath, who thinks Grace is a free woman so he starts to court her. Then there's young Lady Tennyson Huntingford, an ambitious woman who purposely set out to marry a title and now has to live with the consequences.
Things don't pick up until midway in the book, when a storm sinks the ship. Hugh and Lady Tennys find themselves swept upon the shores of the uncharted island of Nedra. As this book was written in 1905 it should come as no surprise that the indigenous people of Nedra are portrayed as savage cannibals who immediately fall to the ground to worship the White Gods and do whatever they say. There's an exciting battle between rival tribes and even Lady Tennys finds time to get her lazy butt out of the hammock and involved in the action. (Sorry. That comes from an earlier scene where she's swinging in a hammock while two native maids are fanning her with palm leaves. Puh-leeze.)
In between bossing the natives around, Hugh and Tennys face a personal crisis of their own. As a year goes by they're developing feelings for each other. But what of Grace? Did she survive the shipwreck? What of Hugh's love for her? And what of Lord Huntingford? Maybe he survived as well. Lady Tennyson may not be available for a new relationship.
What eventually happens to our White Gods? You'll just have to read the book and find out.