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Barriers Burned Away

Edward Payson Roe


Dennis Fleet is a hard-working and pious young Christian man who’s come to the big city of Chicago in order to earn money for his poor family. As he braves his first icy winter, he quickly moves up the rungs of business until he finds himself working for the prosperous art dealer Mr. Ludolph. Ludolph’s beautiful daughter Christine quickly catches Dennis’s eye—but much to his chagrin, she’s a non-believer.

Roe, a Presbyterian minister from New York, was inspired to write Barriers Burned Away after news of the Great Chicago Fire spurred him to visit the remains of the city. He set the book against the backdrop of the encroaching fire, making the novel a fascinating portrait of an era of Chicago that was literally burned to cinders. The book went on to become the bestselling book of 1872, and with its high moral air and sermon-like prose played no small part in breaking down the prejudice against fiction novels that was common in Christian communities of the day.

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