Who Would Have Thought It?

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Ruiz de Burton, María Amparo. Who Would Have Thought It? 1872. New York : Penguin, 2009.

Dr. Norval, a Democrat of humanitarian sympathies, shows up in his New England home town with a mysterious Mexican orphan named Lola Medina and an enormous box full of gold and jewels. Lola and her fortune become the nexus of an unseemly scramble for wealth and influence in wartime Washington and New York. Practically nobody involved in the Union war effort comes off looking good in Ruiz de Burton's scathing analysis. But the young heros and heroines of the novel, including Lola and her perpetually-wounded soldier sweetheart Julian Norval, win through to the usual Victorian-novel forms of happiness.

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