Horatio Alger was a man who lived with a terrible secret -- a secret dark and troubling -- something shameful, in fact. As a young man, that secret took hold of his life, and he left the life and the life's work he had made for himself in Boston, to take up residence among the poor in New York City. Ensconced there, he worked among the poor -- and took to writing tales of their success. His novels captured the imagination of a nation bursting with a new wave of immigrants who'd come to our shores -- come to the very port of New York City that was Alger's new home. He used the wealth that came to him to help the poor folks who he loved, and took his secret to the grave.
It escaped from there, of course. You can find it if you look a bit. But for the purpose of this fine novel of the rise to riches, it will remain unstated . . .