by Dinah Craik
After having a poem published and then writing stories for children, Dinah Craik wrote this novel in 1849, which she dedicated to her mother who had died four years earlier.
This is a story about the romantic web between the lives of passionate young Katharine, her lethargic cousin Hugh and his beautiful, composed sister Eleanor, worldly-wise Paul and intellectual Philip.
An overheard rumour at a party controls the destinies of these five for many years. It results in Katharine making a rash decision, a spiteful "benefactress" doing her fair share to keep lovers apart, Hugh getting his way and, through it all, Paul wafts on oblivious to the drama.
However, the truth eventually comes out in chance conversations and happiness for some is achieved.
It is a strange thing that the characters assume the rumour to be true--a typical trait in Victorian novels--and so allow their lives to be shattered.
But it does make for a thoroughly absorbing novel.
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Page created 18 November 2002 and last
updated 18 November 2002
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