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The Gambler

Katherine Cecil Thurston

Book Overview: 

Clodagh, 18 years old, is the eldest daughter of Dennis Asshlin, an Irish gentleman who lives in an area of Ireland called Orristown. Dennis is passionate, proud and indebted to no one. But, Dennis has an obsession with gambling that is leading the family to ruin. When tragedy strikes, Clodagh finds herself in a situation where she must defend the family honor because “no Asshlin is ever obliged to anyone”. She marries a man she does not love who is many times her age and is thrust from adolescence to adulthood literally overnight. Clodagh travels to Europe and mingles with people of society and fashion which through her immaturity, she believes is her right. She finds instead uncertainty, despondency, and deceit. Her emotions are constantly in battle with reality as she discovers her society acquaintances are not the “friends” she believes them to be. During her visit to Europe, Clodagh discovers that she too is burdened with the Asshlin curse for gambling which eventually leads to more heartbreak. A chance encounter seems to change her life and she returns to Ireland, only once again to be thwarted by the Asshlin curse.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .issipated, blunted, degenerate though he might be, his native intuition was unimpaired; and in a flash of illumination he saw the grade of nobility, the high point of honour to which this prosaic, unimaginative man had attained in that moment of need. With a pang of acute pain, he freed his uninjured arm and shakingly held out his hand.

"There are no friends like the old friends, James!" he said in a broken voice.


Asshlin scarcely spoke again during the early portion of that day. The immense effort of his explanation to Milbanke left him correspondingly weak; though through all his exhaustion, a look of peace and satisfaction was visible in his eyes.

During the whole morning Milbanke remained at his bedside, only leaving the room to partake—at Clodagh's urgent request—of a hurried meal in the deserted dining-room. At twelve o'clock the nurse resumed her duties, and soon afterwards the dispensary doc. . . Read More

Community Reviews

When their wastrel father dies, Clodagh Asshlin and her younger sister are left penniless. In steps family friend John Milbanke (who was telling the story to begin with) to offer a solution: marriage, even though he's decades older than Clo. I liked John and felt he did love Clo in a way but had bee

I really struggled with this book. I like this author and generally think her writing is quite strong, but this story was unpleasant in many ways. It begins with a marriage between an 18-year-old girl and a fifty-something man, which is distasteful enough. But that marriage is followed by a series o

This book was first published in 1905. We got a pristine copy back in the seventies which my husband greatly enjoyed. It vanished over the years but I am hoping to get another 1905 copy.