There is something of Hatter's Castle in the appeal of this book, though it is not so sinister, not quite so tragic. The story of a woman who became a tyrant through her love of money, and who wrecked her son's chance of real happiness, by holding it as a threat over the whole of his life. He dared not share with her --lest she take it from him -- the one real happiness, of his love for the woman he could not make his wife, and for their child. After his death, the story came out, and the old woman was softened by the love she could give the child and his mother. In the development of the story, a good picture of French peasant life is given, for the property and the people concerned are of the village of Pargny, and the story is told by a cousin who lives there. It is well told, with a style that is simple, absorbing, close to the earth. Not a book for the seeker of light romance, but for those who like substantial fiction with fine characterization.