Rosemary Manning's earlier novel (The Shape of Innocence- Doubleday- 1961- p. 61) was more acerb. This, no less able but softer in tone and suspiciously autobiographical, is a small English novel of sensibility and acuity again framed within the sequestered life of a school. The school is Bampfield, no passion flower hotel, here a ""mortifying regime of cold water, draughts, outdoor drill and bad food"" is pheld along with the conviction that young ladies are to be brought up as public school boys in the repudiation of the biological facts. The story is told (alternately- and rather disconcertingly- in both the first and third person) as it involves Rachel Curgenven, ardently intellectual, avidly romantic, her head full of the classics, poetry and ""free and glorious love"". The reality proves otherwise and is exposed in the secret garden she has found which is later used by two other girls engaged in a ""nameless vice""... This is the only dramatic incident in conclusion to a slight book which through its niceties of insight and phrase seems perhaps more important than it is. In any case, it is a pleasure to read.