Sir Robert's Fortune tells the story of a young woman, Lily, sent to a lonely Highland moor by her uncle, who wishes to get her away from a young man he disapproves of. However the young man, who thinks chiefly of Sir Robert's fortune, pursues her and convinces the minister to perform a secret marriage. A series of events follows this step, including one which is devastating to Lily.
A House in Bloomsbury is a novel which at first glance has no similarities to Sir Robert. But in fact one of the characters, Miss Bethune, has a backstory which is identical to Lily's in virtually all particulars. The only real difference lies in the end of her early history, as opposed to the end of Lily's story. Margaret Oliphant seems to pose the question: What would have happened to Lily, if her one remaining hope had not been fulfilled?
It is interesting to note that these two stories were being told at the same time: Sir Robert's Fortune was serialised in Atalanta magazine from October 1893 to September 1894; A House in Bloomsbury was serialised in Young Woman magazine during precisely the same period.