A shy young heiress is left in the care of her uncle, a suspected murderer.
J. Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-1873), an Irish journalist and novelist, wrote some 20 novels beginning in 1845; he specialized in the creation of eerie atmosphere.
Though sometimes strained and improbable, this novel “is rather to be taken as a highly wrought romance than as a picture of mere every-day life and its issues. Enough that the novel is well-written, paints some strongly-wrought dream figures, and one or two very well-drawn characters of real substantial life, that it also excites curiosity, and sustains a very strong interest from the beginning to the end." Examiner, December 24, 1864.
“Mr. Le Fanu has the gift of working upon the imagination of his readers, until every description of still life—a room, a picture, a piece of furniture, the entire house—becomes instinct with significance.... The author’s artistic imagination touches every object, however small or apparently insignificant, giving them a meaning like a song without words.” Athenaeum, January 7, 1865.
La Fanu “is feverishly intent on producing a series of Rembrandt effects.... Seen through this ghostly medium, all the characters, from the principals to the merest supernumerary, appear more or less weird or unearthly.” Saturday Review, February 4, 1865.
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