11 JANUARY 1908, Page 28

The Thornton Device. By the Hon. Mrs. Norman Grosvenor. (A.

Constable and Co. 6s.)—Mrs. Grosvenor's earlier novel led us to expect something out of the common from her new venture, and in a sense the expectation has not been disappointed. There is faithful observation and not a little charm in The Thornton Deride, but the effect of the whole, in our opinion, is seriously impaired by the introduction of an incident which we can only deseribe as utterly irreconcilable with the antecedents and nature of one of the characters. In view of the services rendered by Madeline Urquhart to Geoffrey Thornton's wife and to himself, we can credit the extreme Quixotry of his behaviour to his benefactress, but that a girl of such fine character should place herself in such an ignominious position is quite incredible. The impression created is not that of a natural development, but of a highly artificial situation deliberately contrived, like one of the labours of Hercules, in order to enable the hero to display his gratitude on a superhuman level. Madeline's lapse is only possible in an Adelphi melodrama ; in a soberly written chronicle like The Thornton Device it is little better than a motiveless monstrosity.