13 FEBRUARY 1904, Page 21

Laura's Legacy. By E. H. Stiain. (T. Fisher iJnwin. 6s.)—

This is a pleasant Scots story, which recalls now and then Mrs. Oliphant's earlier manner. Mrs. Strain has followed a plan with which some recent novels have made us familiar, and attained distinction by taking the kind of plot which is usually sacred to melodrama and treating it with the insight and delicacy of a serious student of character. The bold narrative gives the necessary dramatic effect, which is heightened by the quiet style and the careful drawing of the figures. Lady Laura Barclay, who is prostrated with grief at the death of her husband and son, finds a foundling child, which she believes to have been sent by heaven to comfort her. The child is brought up as her own daughter and heir, and the problem of the tale is the effort of the mother to salve her conscience by telling the girl the truth of her parentage, a work only achieved at her death. The curious questions of ethics involved are treated with much insight and skill, and the character of Lady Laura is admirably realised. We should be glad to see oftener stories of this serious and wholesome type, for there is more of the true art of fiction in it than in a score of pretentious works.