By: Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)
The Laodicean (someone whose religious beliefs are “lukewarm”) of the title is Paula Power who bought the ancient castle De Stancy which she is determined to restore. Being of a modern frame of mind, she has the telegraph connected to the castle – and uses it all the time in the course of the story.
George Somerset is a young architect who is invited to compete for the chance of the commission to restore the castle and who falls in love with Paula.
However, the brother of Paula’s great friend Charlotte De Stancy – of the aristocratic family that once owned the castle – aided by his villainous illegitimate son, sets out to win Paula for himself.
Although Paula likes the idea of being a De Stancy, she is drawn to George from the start. The various machinations of De Stancy and his son keep the narrative moving along at a fast pace.