A handsome and popular young man, raised in genteel poverty by a doting mother, hopes to better his condition.
Frances Eleanor Trollope (1835-1913) was T.A. Trollope's second wife, and therefore sister-in-law to Anthony Trollope and daughter-in-law to Frances Milton Trollope; she was also the sister of Ellen Ternan, Charles Dickens's special friend. She wrote a dozen or so novels between 1866 and 1892; here she delineates, with playful irony, a complex social environment made up of people who misunderstand themselves and each other.
“Mrs. Trollope has the family knack of investing commonplace life with dramatic interest”; “in the details of the drama, often both humorous and pathetic...the reader will find ... evidence of considerable observation, expressed with unusual force.” Athenaeum, January 1, 1876
“Of the minor characters, who are many, the assertion may be sweepingly made that they are all good. Mrs. Trollope shows a really remarkable power of drawing character.” Academy, January 1, 1876
“There is a great deal of very nice and delicate work in this novel”; the title character is “extremely well done.” Saturday Review, January 8, 1876
“Very much above the ordinary run of novels” with “three sketches of character that must be pronounced masterly.” The title character "is natural and consistent, a perfect specimen of the compatibility of winning manners and faultless temper with thorough badness of heart.” Graphic, February 12, 1876
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