A really extraordinary novel, an imaginary biography of one Charlotte Castleton, a woman who became a famous painter and whose friends included Swinburne and Rossetti and Oscar Wilde. England of the last eighty years unfolds as one reads but the stress is on the character of the woman herself, and her personal and family life. The story is told in reverse, starting with the funeral of the central character and working backwards, taking the leads from conversations at the time of her death. There is something of the appeal of the character in All Passions Spent -- a wisdom and charm and an inner beauty, even in old age, that makes her the friend of young and old. Here's a book that has a real chance, but that should be carefully sold to your discriminating readers.