There's a strange fascination in this unusual story of the sixteen year old girl who became the wife of the famous poet --it's a holding story despite its deliberately archaic style, for it is told as if recounted by the girl herself in the diary which alone she kept inviolate from her arrogant husband's determination to possess her, body and soul. Born to a Cavalier household, a large family with nothing but debts to sustain the colorful and extravagant life they led in a hunting county -- Marie Powell was practically "sold" to John Milton, almost twice her age, whose debt her father could not meet. One gets an extraordinarily vivid sense of the passing show -- one is thrust into the intricacies of the Civil Wars. But the chief interest in the book is in its penetrating study of one of the strangest marriages in history. John Milton thrust his lovely bride forth, the marriage unconsummated, after a few weeks; a stubborn determination to keep her identity, plus the wars, kept them apart; but at the end of three years, for the sake of her family, she returned to him, and submitted to his will. Only one tiny segment of herself she kept apart -- her early and undying love for "Mun", childhood sweetheart, whom she met but once again after her wretched marriage. Robert Graves, author of I. Claudius, has the gift for fleshing the bare bones of history. This isn't a book for a wide general market, but discriminating readers will find it a real discovery.