16 MARCH 1878, Page 22

The Story of Avis. By Elizabeth Stuart Phelps. (Routledge.)— Miss

Phelps has before this written so well, that it is a great disappoint- ment to find her sending out a book which is, in many places, as nearly unreadable as a really able writer could make it. The style is such that it fairly hides the subject-matter, not so much from its obscurity, though it is certainly not clear, as because its violence and exaggera- tion engross the attention. The Story of Avis reminds us of "The Story of Sordello." He who would hear it told is baulked of his with by the extraordinary way in which Miss Phelps has chosen to tell it. We will give an instance. We find early in the *ale -ntioniewhat striking situation, an incident which has no little influence on the after-develop.