23 SEPTEMBER 1882, Page 22

How They Loved Him. 3 vols. By Florence Marryat. (P.

V. White and Co.)—Mrs. Lean has written a powerful and unpleasant novel on the subject which the English public do not like to have brought before their notice, even when it is treated by genius. The reasons for this disinclination, which has seriously restricted our novelists, lie deep in the moral and acquired character of our country- men, and while the present mode of thought endures, are not likely to be relinquished. Fenella Barrington, the heroine, is a young, ignorant girl, who has been brought up at a convent. Ingeniously contrived accident throws her in the way of the selfish, emotional, Geoffrey Doyne, who at that time is engaged to Jessie Robertson. He makes a slight effort to release himself, but though he has ruined Fonella, he is beaten by the persistence of Jessie and her mother, and leaves his victim to shift for herself. With her assurance that ho knows her whole history, Fondle consents to marry the ancestor.worshipping Sir Gilbert Conroy ; and when her child dies, substitutes the one she had been told was dead. Mrs. Doyne wrings from her cowardly husband an acknowledgment of Fenella's relations with him. Sir Gilbert, who had been deceived by Mrs. Barrington, made furious by the double fraud, separates from his wife, who becomes a great singer, and the interest of the story disappears. Such a story needs a greater skill in treatment

than Mrs. Lean is able to bring to it, and the result is that one comes to the conclusion that the novel is an utter mistake, and only the evident sincerity of the writer cheeks full condemnation. Three moan and repulsive persons, two of whom are women, Mrs. Lean describes and enables us to realise with painful success. One thing, however, is certain,—no one who reads the book is likely to be tempted into falling into the error of its heroine.