Lady Rose’s Daughter Bewitches, Bothers and Bewilders

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Lady Rose’s Daughter, by Mrs. Humphrey Ward, is a tantalizing psychological study simmered in a broth of mystery, romance,  and adventure.

Lady Rose’s husband refused to divorce her when she ran off to the continent with a lover. After her parents’ deaths, their illegitimate daughter goes to England under an assumed name.

Lady Henry Delafield discovers Julie’s real identity. She hires the younger woman as her companion with the proviso Julie is not to seek out her English relatives.

When Julie turns out to be better than her employer at creating a salon for politicians and leaders, Lady Henry is resentful.

Lady Henry’s grandson and her granddaughter side with Julie against their grandmother even as they worry Julie is too friendly with an Army captain conspicuous for bravery — and for pursuit of a young heiress in India.

Given the complexity of both plot and characters, the tidy ending feels rather too neat. It’s not totally implausible, but it doesn’t feel psychologically fitting either. My instinctive response was to reread the novel to see if I’d missed clues the first time, or if Mrs. Ward left out something vital.

Perhaps if the worst that can be said of a novel is that it elicited a desire to read the book again, it hasn’t done too badly.

Lady Rose’s Daughter
by Mrs. Humphry Ward
Illus. Howard Chandler Christy
Project Gutenberg EBook #13782
1903 bestseller #1

 © 2013 Linda Gorton Aragoni

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