AS a novel, Mr. Lincoln's most recent book is rather a disappointment. It is well enough done, but almost to the extent of being overdone, for the story has a tendency to lag. The atmosphere of the plot is so pronounced that the reader from the beginning gains a fairly accurate impression of the ultimate outcome of it, while at the same time the characters are portrayed so sharply that they become almost automatons, and lose the charm of their individuality. The net result is that the reader, in addition to knowing what the story is going to be, knows also as soon as a character is introduced, what he or she is going to do in every situation.
The circumstances and their development are thoroughly simple. Mary Brewster is the last descendant of an aristocratic family, her ancestors having created such a place for themselves in their little Cape Cod community that her heaviest responsibility is to live up to her name. Since she is the heroine, it is only right that she be willing to take the artificial position lightly. She goes to work quite calmly and the town talks. Her best friend and adviser is a fine man, but not in her social plane. She is too generous to care for that. One knows at the beginning that she will marry him at the end. She does. There is her mysterious half-brother from the West who, not having been heard of for 20 years, comes back and makes a fine figure in the village. Of course Mary and her friend David Cummings distrust him. Naturally they are right in the end when Benjamin Brewster turns out to have been a through cheat. Naturally everything ends happily.
Even Mr. Lincoln's attractive style and natural humor fail to carry him through satisfactorily. The story is pleasant enough, but lacks subtlety.
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