Adult Editorial Department — Trade Division
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books
222 Berkeley Street
Boston, MA 02116
July 6, 2013
Hello Houghton Mifflin,
Could you reissue the Vale novels of Olive Higgins Prouty?
These five tell the story of a prominent Boston family, back when Boston had a few families that brought out their daughters at magnificent cotillions and took for granted that their sons would go to Harvard. The first novel of the series, White Fawn, opens with a full view of the pageantry and excitement of a débutante ball, circa 1929. To this world of privilege these novels bring a rare touch of humanism.
The third novel of the five, Now Voyager, was made into a movie starring Bette Davis in 1942. This classic has a following. It didn't get its greatness just from Warner Brothers — the movie owes its quality and depth to the novel.
I bought the second novel of the set, Lisa Vale, on Amazon for $75 in 2006. Today copies of the book sell for over $100. If anything, Lisa Vale tells a more compelling tale than its famous sequel. Could Houghton Mifflin re-issue them, perhaps as a nice set? Houghton owns the publishing rights. You really ought to profit from them. Let Olive Higgins Prouty take her rightful place in the pantheon of writers about the upper class in America — writers like Louis Auchincloss, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Edith Wharton.
Have you had any luck with Houghton Mifflin?
No luck yet. If Houghton heard from you and from several other visitors, we may bring them around to republishing the Vale novels. This website gets about 500 visitors a month. If a few dozen of us contacted the publisher . . .
Feel free to borrow from this letter and write to Houghton Mifflin. They need to hear from more than just me.
I am mailing this to Houghton Mifflin today. Hoping it is not intercepted by some myopic millenial intern whose view of history begins 10 years ago.