In a sense this seems a simpler story- both in conception and characterization- than its predecessors. For that reason it may win a wider and a less critical audience. For those who have been his advocates in years past, this may seem not quite top drawer. There's a lack of direction here- and the denouement is disappointing, as if he didn't quite know what to do with the situation he had evolved. The situation itself is an interesting and challenging one. Catherine de Lauzun- half Canadian, half French, was at middle age, finding her life empty of purpose. So, when her chief, Lawrence Ashland, offered her marriage on limited terms, confessing to his loneliness since the death of Josie, his crippled wife- she accepted. And she found it was indeed scarcely more than a half loaf, further complicated by the antagonism of Stephen, the son, who at 24 had been cashiered from the army for brutally shooting a subordinate. Stephen proved a tragic case- deeply marked by the disgrace, still more deeply marked by the morbid desire to live up to his dead mother's ideals, and trying to compensate for failure by planning to marry the cheap, tawdry widow of the man he killed. How circumstances put the threads into Catherine's hands- and how she deals with them- and saves her own marriage- makes for better reading than analyzing afterwards.