First published in 1864, this book was an immediate contemporary success and established Amelia Edwards' reputation as a novelist. The story of a young woman's growth from childhood to maturity is traced through her relationship with Hugh Farquhar whom she idolized from the first moment when, still a child, she meets him, already a mature man of the world. The development of their love from each other makes challenging and even painful demands upon them both before it reaches final fruition. The story of a spirited and talented heroine is set against the background of life in France, Germany and Italy and is rich in narrative and character. The vitality of Amelia Edwards's imagination and her vigorous dramatic sense animate the action and enrich by the extraordinarily wide range of her interests and knowledge.