20 SEPTEMBER 1873, Page 20

Rosa Noel. 3 vols. (Bantley.)—If Rosa Noel be, as a

title-page bare of all but the name weuld seem to indicate, the work of a new writer, it holds out no inconsiderable promise for the future. Inex- perience may very well account for the one capital mistake which its author has made. To write a novel in three volumes, and so to order your plot that the whole interest terminates with the first of the three, is a mistake of fatal importance as regards the story in which it occurs, but is of no evil augury for the future. Rosa Noel, an ingenue of the simplest and most innocent kind, is taken from a Sicilian convent, where a worldly father had gladly deposited a troublesome hindrance to his movements. Before many weeks are past a noble suitor falls in love with her ; the father represents that unless speedy help be given him, he must be utterly ruined, and she accepts the offer. But the repug- nance which she feels—which ho personally in no way deserves— breaks forth when the marriage ceremony is finished. She turns for the time into a fury ; her husband leaves her on the wedding day, wanders about for a while, and comes home to die. So ends the first volume. Had this been also the end of Rosa Noel, we should have said, "A very doleful story, but clever." Clever it certainly is; the

Sicilian convent life, with its dull, monotonous peace, is admirably de- scribed ; so is the life in the Highland shooting lodge, whither Mr. Noel takes his daughter in the hope of securing the match which was to have so fatal an ending. And all the characters—the frank and. generous lover, the selfish father, and his sister, Mrs. Champion, with. her worldly, but not unkindly disposition—are drawn with picturesque- ness and force. These qualities do not disappear in the second and third volumes, but they certainly show to no kind of advantage. It is quite possible to read the latter part of the story, for it is not actually dull, but all the interest has passed from it. When the author produces another young lady from the convent, this time a real runaway nun, (are there really any runaway nuns?) and brings lovers about her, one of them a ruffianly brother of the dead husband, the other Rosa's first admirer, we refuse to care about her. Rosa herself goes through life with a sort of mild remorse for the man whom she drove to death, and fades away, so to speak, from the reader's vision. If our_ author will end her next novel as well as she has begun this, it should be a success.