The author of English period dramas featuring beautiful, victimized women (The Stallion Man, 1983; Sisters and Brothers, 1984) here entraps another creamy-skinned Venus in a miserable marriage--this time with a cold, sexually demanding Victorian Man of Property. Catherine ""Kitty"" van der Kleve, wife of wealthy Oliver, was raised in a foundling home, then sent to an exclusive ladies' finishing school--expenses paid by Oliver, 'a man she'd never known, who later proposed marriage. Considering Kitty's background, it's a sensible match--but, in truth, a miserable union. Oliver's amorous approaches have nothing to do with heart or head; the household is managed by his hateful sister Beatrice; and teen-age daughter Angelina, by his late wife, is generally poisonous. Two pregnancies end in an infant fatality and miscarriage, and it's gloomsville until art teacher Jonathan shows Kitty a new way of loving. But Jonathan is flighty, Oliver is shrewd, and eventually Kitty is sent packing--until another close encounter, and until emotional revelations turn everything around and Kitty is her own woman at last--to love freely. Bird in a gilded cage tries her wings. There's some dust-up of fuss and feathers before the thinly drawn mean ones are banished, but in general this is a scrawny tale, plumped out with agreeable Victorian ambiance.