By: Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1835-1915)
This is an exquisite and heartbreaking love story. Violet Tempest and Roderick Vawdrey, otherwise known to each other as Vixen and Rorie, are childhood sweethearts. However, Rorie's family wants him to marry elsewhere. You may think it is the old story all over again, but nothing in this novel is what it seems. It is far too realistic for that. Many books talk about falling in love. This book starts after that stage, and speaks about the harder stage of a relationship: loving earnestly but understanding that love - even in the truest and purest sense - is not everything in life. There are duties to fulfil, and they might have nothing to do with love. Family life plays a large role in this novel, and it is not always warm and good. Many of the characters are strong and complicated. The novel has some feminist ideas, but they have boundaries, and are presented side by side with the conventional ideas of the times. But the signs of change are there... loud and clear.