5 NOVEMBER 1870, Page 24

Petrone!. By Florence Marryat. 3 vols. (Bentley.)—We were pre- judiced

against this novel by the very strange English which we met with in the earlier pages. For instance, we have, "Dr. Ford knew that none of the reasons were emergent which had taken him abroad, but he did not complain because he had personified himself with all the duties" of his profession. We fancy that the book does not amend much in this respect as it goes on, but the reader will not be so much inclined to notice the fault. The truth is, that he will probably feel interested in the story, and not care much about faults in the telling of it. For it is an interesting story, and, questions of style apart, is skilfully handled. The plot is old enough; a man, middle-aged, or what seems middle-aged to the young, falls in love with a ward who is some twenty years younger than himself, struggles against the passion, and yields to it. But the old materials are put together well ; the middle-aged guardian is a fine fellow, really like a man, a praise which we cannot always bestow upon the masculine portraits of our lady novelists, and "Petronel," the young ward, is a lively and pleasing young person. The tale has some defects ; the whole episode of the sham father is somewhat absurd, and the hero, Dr. Ford, is certainly quite right when he feels a certain impropriety in falling in love with the daughter of the woman who had once promised to marry him and then had proved false. This might easily have been avoided. The relationship need not have been made quite so close. As it is, it is almost revolting, and does something to spoil what is, on the whole, an agreeable and well-told tale.