This novel, which is a sequel to The Ladies Lindores, opens as gentle, poetical Lady Caroline begins life anew with a second marriage. After her nightmarish first marriage she now seeks happiness with the man she had deeply loved and admired fifteen years before. Perhaps she is too damaged by the intervening years of oppression and violence ever to efface the inner images which still haunt her. And perhaps the revived idealism of her youth creates a standard which her dilettante husband will not be able to meet, much less her unsympathetic children by her first marriage. This novel chronicles the gradual disillusionment of a lonely, fragile woman.
Biographical and other notes
In two separate scenes near the end of the novel Lady Car experiences "the peace of God which passeth all understanding" (Philippians 4:7). One scene in particular is reminiscent of Margaret Oliphant's own spiritual experience at Saint Andrews in 1884, when during a time of despair she had walked down towards the beach at night, and ". . . suddenly there came upon me a great quiet and calm . . . and a kind of heavenly peace came over me - I thought after it must have been the peace that passeth all understanding." (Per page 53, The Autobiography of Margaret Oliphant - the Complete Text, 1990, edited by Elisabeth Jay. See also page 157.)