1 APRIL 1865, Page 21

Put to the Test. No author. (J. Maxwell.)—As readable as

it is well possible for a novel to be without being a work of genius. The single defect of the book is that while its author has evidently a pur- pose, it is nearly impossible to make out what that purpose may be. He or she has created a remarkable figure, one flatly, who passes through life, tempted, guilty, successful, and yet, if we understand the drift of the book, comparatively innocent. Only why we are to pardon her is not clearly made out. Her seducer, the able, impassive, gentle- mannered, firm-willed doctor, is a fine half-drawn sketch, but the reader would like the shading a little more perfectly filled up. The truth is, we imagine, that the story is one of which a Frenchman would have made something to live, but which an Englishman is afraid to tell except in phrases so guarded that it is difficult occasionally to catch its drift. That drift is, we believe, good, but we laid the book down with a faint doubt whether we were clear as to anything except this,—that the writer, whoever he or she is, can produce an extraordinary story, one quite beyond Put to the Test.