The Street of Seven Stars by Mary Roberts Rinehart
is a novel written by Mary Roberts Rinehart and first published in 1914. The story is set in Vienna, Austria, and revolves around the lives of two young women from very different backgrounds: Theodora ‘Tode’ Lane, an American nurse who has come to Vienna to work at a hospital, and Marie von Taer, a wealthy Austrian countess who is engaged to a prince.
The novel begins with Tode Lane arriving in Vienna to take up her position at the hospital. She soon becomes involved in the life of the city, making friends with her fellow nurses and with local residents. One day, while walking through the city, she meets a young man named Karl, who is also American and who is studying in Vienna. They strike up a friendship and begin to spend time together.
Meanwhile, Marie von Taer is preparing for her wedding to the prince, but she is plagued by doubts and fears about her future. She is deeply in love with a young doctor, Rudolph von Lichtenstein, but she feels trapped by the expectations of her family and society.
As the novel progresses, Tode and Karl’s relationship deepens, but they are faced with a number of obstacles, including the disapproval of Tode’s family and the fact that Karl is suspected of being involved in a smuggling ring. Marie, too, is struggling with her own problems, and finds herself increasingly drawn to Rudolph, who shares her passion for medicine and her desire to help people.
The novel culminates in a dramatic finale, in which Tode and Karl must confront the truth about Karl’s involvement in the smuggling ring, and Marie must make a difficult decision about her future.
“The Street of Seven Stars” is a novel that explores themes of love, class, and cultural differences. Through the characters of Tode and Marie, Rinehart examines the challenges faced by women in a patriarchal society, and the ways in which they are expected to conform to social norms and expectations. The novel also explores the tensions between different social classes, as well as the clash of cultures between Americans and Austrians.
One of the most compelling aspects of the novel is its vivid portrayal of Vienna in the early 20th century. Rinehart captures the atmosphere and energy of the city, as well as its rich history and cultural traditions. The novel is full of colorful characters, from the aristocratic von Taer family to the working-class residents of the street of seven stars, and Rinehart does an excellent job of bringing them to life on the page.
Another notable aspect of the novel is its focus on the role of women in society. Tode and Marie are both strong, independent women who are determined to live life on their own terms. Through their struggles and triumphs, Rinehart highlights the ways in which women are often marginalized and undervalued in society, and the importance of fighting for gender equality.
In conclusion, “The Street of Seven Stars” is a compelling and well-written novel that explores a wide range of themes and issues. Through its vivid portrayal of Vienna and its colorful characters, the novel provides a rich and engaging portrait of life in early 20th century Europe. At the same time, its focus on the struggles and triumphs of women, and its examination of issues of class and culture, make it a work of considerable depth and significance.