An ensnarement by the past imprisons American Anne Carey when she returns to her English heritage, Carey Reach, and raises a barrier that cannot be explained to a neighbor, crippled John Templeton. For Anne, raised in Tudor history by her learned father, is fascinated by the Octagon Room, the grave of A. C. who has been branded iniquitous and unabsolved, and the recurrent glimpses of the drama between Althea and Edward Courtenay, whose pretensions to the throne, years before, she authenticates in actual history. John and her housekeeper are kept out of her secret preoccupation; her fancies become sicker and madder as she is compelled to identify herself with the other, past world that beckons her; when she becomes weirdly indivisible from the happenings of other times; the finishing of her father's book is a ready excuse for privacy to visit the Octagon Room and its visions. All the links crash with the denouement of Althea and Edward's affair and the Anne is returned -- with the story almost intact -- to Jonn's waiting arms. Attraction versus abhorrence well upholstered makes this a wonderful comeon for reading revels. Tag the woman's day for this one.