original illustration by James Montgomery Flagg
Olive Higgins Prouty
The Fifth Wheel (published 1915) picks up where Bobbie, General Manager (my review here) ends, but with Ruth as the main character, instead of her sister Bobbie. Ruth has been trained to be a mindless debutante, but decides to try a different path and find a job in New York City.
While Ruth's story was mostly enjoyable, I found some of her adventures--and her happy ending--to be improbable. In addition, I was disconcerted by the details of events not matching between the two novels. I also grew tired of the discussions about suffrage and woman's-place, feeling that Prouty used this novel more as a platform to air opinions than to tell a story.
Despite my complaints, it was, as I said, mostly enjoyable; a quick, light read that gives an idea of what life was like during the American Gilded Age.