6 MAY 1916, Page 18

The Battle of Flowers. By Mrs. H. de Vero Stacpoole.

(Hutchinson and Co. 6s.)—Mrs. Stacpoole has cultivated a style of writing which is hard, precise, and unattractive. She will have no pleasant unoer- tainty in her book, no untested depths in her characters. " Jubal was in love with Jane Candon. . . . He had fallen in love with Jane Candon at first sight, he had been in love with her ever since the first moment of their meeting." This hardness has, indeed, a certain virtue, for the writer has chosen a subject which might most easily be treated, with sentimentality. A blind man is intimately friendly with two. women : Miss Flyte, who devotes herself to him, is unselfish and repul- sively plain ; Jane is pretty, capable, and wealthy. The man recovers; his sight (all the medical problems in Mrs. Stacpoole's book are, by the way, obligingly simple). Which girl will he choose ? The pub-. Ushers tell us that here is the main theme of the story. As a matter of fact, there are several plots in the book, all of about equal interest ; of an interest which is, we regret to say, by no means absorbing.