This is quite an extraordinary story, which set down in cold blood sounds incredible, but which- as one reads, unfolds with a conviction that this might well have happened. Much of it will shock the puritans:- the central theme of a man and woman, in mature life, deciding to live together as man and wife though he is legally tied to a mad wife, the acceptance on the part of their friends; the resentment -- and deliberate pushing into the background- on the part of ""Mrs. Crewe's"" son and daughter; and the shock when, with the mad wife's death notice, the story broke on those who knew nothing of it build up to a climax in which the reader shares intimately. Anna never falters in her love for Evan; that he fails her in the ultimate crisis is- in retrospect-true to character but provides an unpalatable ending to a story that has its mead of poignance and drama and suspense. In the layers of society glimpsed from royalty to backstairs, one glimpses something of the changing social pattern in England of the last three decades. Not a book to ignore.