Femme Fatale: Dolly Henderson

The copy of Honor Bound which I read in the special collection of the National Library was so old (1934) that I was not allowed to take it out. I had to be careful as I turned the rough, yellowed pages so as not to have them disintegrate into dust in my hands.

Dolly Henderson in Honor Bound appears to be sweet and wanting to do the right thing. But here’s how Faith Baldwin describes her:

“She found herself thinking of money not in terms of coinage, but in terms of power: What it made of life, the channels it dug, the harbors it created, and the ramparts it threw up around the person who possessed it. It was terrifying.”

Engaged to Hank Ellis, a man who is over his head in debt, Dolly elopes with Vankennen Norris, an extremely wealthy man.

After two years of being married and realizing that there is something missing in her life (Ha! Money can’t buy love after all!) , Dolly goes after Hank again, who is now married to Dolly’s best friend, Laurie Anderson.

 The power of this novel is what Faith Baldwin – through her characters- has to say about the honor in marriage, love and friendship. Here we have Dolly’s husband, who has learned of her cheating with Hank Ellis:

“You’re an extraordinary woman with a very strong will. You haven’t any real passion. What you feel for Ellis isn’t that. You have only vanity and the driving urge to get what you want at any cost.”

That might just be one of the best definitions of a femme fatale.

FAITH BALDWIN (1893-1978) was one of the most prolific mid-twentieth century authors of popular fiction. She published eighty-five books between 1921 and 1977, many of them focused on women juggling family and career, including White Collar GirlMen Are Such Fools!, and An Apartment for Peggy, which was made into a Hollywood film in 1948.



22 thoughts on “Femme Fatale: Dolly Henderson

  1. Lovely beginning to a week charged with business. I thoroughly enjoy your embracing of authors who have become successful in their own rite. Femme Fatale is going to be a hit. I can feel the excitement of it all.


  2. I really liked your story, “The Witness.” I couldn’t figure out where else to tell you that. Some post about it came up in my email, and I followed the link to the story, but now the post is gone.
    I like the gradual way the story unfolded. It was subtle and powerful at the same time.


  3. Wow, fascinating article on a fascinating woman. Right up my alley, sheesh, adding another book, :). It also must have been great to actually read and touch the original. 🙂


  4. I love that she tackled these topics especially back in those days. Also enjoyed reading about the first time you read Honor Bound. There is something that feels so rich to me about handling a book so carefully because it’s pages might crumb.


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