Milly Theale is a young, beautiful, and fabulously wealthy American. When she arrives in London and meets the equally beautiful but impoverished Kate Croy, they form an intimate friendship. But nothing is as it seems; materialism, romance, self-delusion, and ultimately fatal illness, insidiously contaminate the glamorous social whirl.
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William Hope uses his voice well to give varied voices to men and women, both British and American and of various ages, in this novel of transatlantic complications between an ailing American heiress and the passionate British couple driven to use her. Hope's Brits, especially Mrs. Lowder, tend to caricature. Still, he has command of James's complex sentences, and his pacing, accenting, and emphasis often make them clearer to hear than they are to read, an achievement that is considerable.
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