"One might easily precipitate a controversy over this book. But we prefer to judge it merely as a story rather than as a theory of life. Miss Dell has the ability to make a tale absorbing; she has the gift of writing in a way that leaves her incidents and characters as so many impressions graved deep on the memory. Her 'Door' is Death; her 'keeper' is the physician who can but will not open the door to the sufferer. In the case of Violet - poor, insane creature that she threatened to become - the keeper guarded the door to good effect, only to have it opened by the hand he adored when his back was turned....One of the really excellently written books of the season, and will well repay a careful - which will undoubtedly be also an interested - reading." -The Book News Monthly
"Miss Ethel Dell, in 'The Keeper of the Door,' once more brings us into the companionship of Nick Rateliffe, whose Indian exploits and rocky road of love held us breathless in 'The Way of an Eagle.' He is now living in England, a Member of Parliament, held in immense respect for his Indian record. The position of hero in the new story is not, however, reserved for him, but is given to Max Wyndham, a young physician, to whom many of his characteristics are transferred, while his niece and pal, Olga Rateliffe, provides the book with an adorable heroine....Its interest is cumulative, and it grows more tense and exciting with every added chapter." -The Dial
"Olga, the heroine, has three men dangling after her, and helps an insane friend through the 'door' of death by purposely giving her an overdose of medicine. Misunderstandings, of course, ensue." -America
"Recounts the old story of love that finally triumphs over all obstacles, but rarely has the artful Cupid had his resourcefulness tested more severely than in this attempt to render indispensable to one another two people who begin in antagonism and the progress of whose romance is hindered by sinister circumstances. There is, too, involved in the story a case of blackmail - not the form of blackmail that levies a money tribute, but the kind that seeks to bend the will and affection to its purpose by threatening, in the event of a refusal, dire consequences to those whom the person intimidated loves. It is a story that has all the fascination and power of Miss Dell's three arresting novels previously published." -National Courier
"Is it justifiable to add the extra drop that converts a harmless sedative into a death-dealing potion in cases of hopeless suffering? 'The Keeper of the Door,' a clever young physician, maintains the fight with death should never cease, even when he comes in friendly guise. The heroine takes the contrary view, which in a moment of terrible nervous strain she puts into practice." -Continent
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Ethel Dell's married name is recorded as Ethel Mary Savage. She was born in Streatham, a suburb of London. Her father was a clerk in the City of London and she had an older sister and brother. Her family was middle class and lived a comfortable life. Ethel Dell was a very shy, quiet girl and was content to be dominated by her family. She began to write stories while very young and many of them were published in popular magazines. Beneath her shy exterior, she had a passionate heart and most of her stories were stories of passion and love set in India and other British colonial possessions. They were considered to be very racy and her cousins would pull out pencils to try and count up the number of times she used the words: passion, tremble, pant and thrill. Ethel Dell worked on a novel for several years, but it was rejected by eight publishers. Finally the publisher T. Fisher Unwin bought the book for their First Novel Library, a series which introduced a writer's first book. This book, titled The Way of an Eagle, was published in 1912 and by 1915 it had gone through thirty printings. The Way of an Eagle is very characteristic of Ethel M. Dell's novels. There is a very feminine woman, an alpha male, a setting in India, passion galore liberally mixed with some surprisingly shocking violence and religious sentiments sprinkled throughout. While readers adored Ethel M. Dell's novels, critics hated them with a passion; but she did not care what the critics thought. She considered herself a good storyteller - nothing more and nothing less. Ethel M. Dell continued to write novels for a number of years. She made quite a lot of money, from 20,000 to 30,000 pounds a year, but remained quiet and almost pathologically shy.
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