19 JULY 1879, Page 23

Heronden ; Or, Some Passages of Country Life. 2 vo l e .

By G. Goldney. (Provost.)—We are to consider this, we suppose, a first Work, If so, we look upon it as showing very considerable promise. The improvement which is discernible even in the course of the two volumes is itself a most hopeful sign. The first pages are not more than common-place in conception, and stiff and awkward in style, mid Certainly do not prepare the reader for the really interesting, we may oven say, powerful, story which follows. Mrs. Goldney does not re- sort to anything like sensation or surprise. Her novel exactly answers to its description on the title-page. It is a transcript of "sonic passages in country life," just the kind of life, not at all more eventful or exciting, than that which people are actually leading ; but then the transcript is rendered with some real artistic power. Two love-stories form the staple of the plot ; both no wall told, and the task of making a certain com- munity between the interest of the two is skilfully performed, while the contrast between the light of the one and the shadow of the other is effective. We are sorry for the fate of John Shakerley. We are inclined to prefer him as a hero to Arthur Oliphant, who nmy be sup- posed to fill the principal part, but we recogniee the artistic propriety of the way in which be is disposed of. When we add that the writer gives us no little proof of culture and rending, we have said enough to show that this is a novel which would do no discredit to an ex- perienced writer, and which is very hopeful iudeed as the work of an untried pen.—A Debt of Love. By Montague. 2 vols. (Chapman and Hall.)—This is a pleasant story, and not wanting in a certain origin- ality. row readers will have anticipated the surprise which so satis- factorily solves the love-difficulLies of one of the heroes of the story; and the writer must have the credit not only of having invented a situation which has some freshness and novelty about it, but also of managing the action which belongs to it with tact and taste. Love- making is the staple occupation of the characters of the story ; but it is not wholly unrelieved by varieties,—by the vigorous personality of MacAlister, and by a sketch on which it is evident that more labour has been expended, and which is perhaps the most successful in the book, Lord Dunmorven.