Reading James brings me to the edge of despair. In the face of Washington Square, how can I imagine I can write? H. G. Wells ridiculed James, saying he was the literary equivalent of an elephant picking up a pea. Wells was wrong.
James writes like an angel. This bitter-sweet story will reduce you to tears. It was written over 130 years ago yet still holds good. The characters are delicately drawn, the writing is wonderful and the story sad yet uplifting.
Dear Catherine loves her young man but we doubt his motives ( she's wealthy). So does Catherine's father, the formidable Dr. Slope. And in the middle of it all is the meddlesome Aunt Lavinia.
James delivers this story with great subtlety; the denouement is superb. A little book, it is a gem. How could anyone criticize James, except for being an impossible act to follow. 5/5