Four of the Season's Novels

WHILE THE BRIDEGROOM TARRIED. By Edna Bryner. E. P. Dutton, New York, 1929. $2.50.

THIS thing called love is an enigma. One reaches a stage at which he thinks he has this delicate subject thoroughly solved and classified in the mind. Suddenly some new experience, some new sensation will present itself and your picture vanishes away in thin air. Such, indeed, is the situation we found ourselves in after trying to absorb the intent of Edna Bryner's recent novel, "While The Bride-Groom Tarried."

It is a fairly well recognized fact that her first novel "Andy Brandt's Ark", that unusual tale of the American family, was a keen study of the basis of civilization today. In this, her latest novel, whether one is or is not in sympathy with her explanations of the puzzles the conditions of marriage have degenerated into today, one is forced to admit that Miss Bryner puts herself in a class alone in the psychological study of man and their relations with women.

Alden Bennington is on the eve of his marriage to a woman he admires and respects but does not love. He is called to the telephone and thrown into constemation on hearing the girl he really loves warn him she would never marry, and would wait forever for him. Truly a pleasant thing to tell a man the evening he is about to "embark on the greatest adventure in life".

Loving her, he had married someone else; marrying her, he loved someone else. One almost finds himself sympathizing with poor Alden. This, however, is a pitfall. As one reads deeper into the significance of the picture Miss Bryner is endeavoring to put into real life one realizes that Bennington is a coward. It is, indeed, a strange dilemma he has worked himself into but at the same time it is a highly possible one. The thread of the story is vastly more confused, however, with the death of his wife, his engagement to the woman he thought he loved, and his falling desperately in love with a third women. Not having much strength of character, and desirous of letting things drift on as they are he eventually slips into a state of mind from which he never recovers.