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Emerging from the grit and stigma of poverty to a life of fairytale privilege under the wing of her aunt, the beautiful and financially ambitious Kate Croy is already romantically involved with promising journalist Merton Densher when they become acquainted with Milly Theale, a New York socialite of immense wealth. Learning of Milly's mortal illness and passionate attraction to Densher, Kate sets the scene for a romantic betrayal intended to secure her lasting financial security. As the dying Milly retreats within the carnival splendour of a Venetian palazzo, becoming the frail hub of a predatory circle of fortune-seekers, James unfolds a resonant, brooding tale of doomed passion, betrayal, human resilience and remorse.
Henry James was born on April 15th 1843 in New York. He was the brother of the philosopher and psychologist William James. He spent a great deal of his life in Europe, especially England. He is best known for his cosmopolitan and often haunting portraits of European and American life. His most famous fictional works include The Portrait of a Lady (1881), What Maisie Knew (1897), The Turn of the Screw (1898), The Wings of the Dove (1902), The Ambassadors (1903) and The Golden Bowl (1904). He also wrote literary criticism, most famously The Art of the Fiction (1884). He died on February 28th 1916.