It is impossible to pigeonhole Miss Kennedy. Who would expect her to write a Regency novel, which- despite its seemingly artificial and oblique handling, its ""frame"" of letters, papers, memoirs, etc.- captures the interest and holds it. Lufton- the central figure- is a sort of schizophrenic:- on the one hand is Miles, a warm- hearted, impulsive creature, often crushed by the belated discovery that a rectory lad isn't deemed on a social level with the squire's son, and must make his name; on the other M.P., popularly- and cynically -- known as Pronto, who has played all the accepted roles to curry favor- and ""arrived"" by his own efforts. This is his story. Told in small part by letters to him, papers about him; in greater part by his own ""confession""- a sort of looking backward to boyhood, youth-and the final, and unexpected romance which never came to a head, Through all of this, one pieces together an extraordinarily human and vivid portrait of a period-between 1802 and 1818; of a people that range from the county folk to the tenant farmers, the downtrodden whose dreams can be crushed by the whims of the gentry. A novel that may baffle some who count on a straightforward job of story telling- but that others will find refreshingly new and different.