Jonathan Keates

Second Sitting

Mrs Osmond

By

Viking 376pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

Will she or won’t she? The intentions of Isabel Archer, heroine of Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady, are famously left vague at the close of the novel. All we know is that after the funeral, in England, of her cousin Ralph Touchett, the only man who has ever properly appreciated her, she plans on returning to Rome. Not for the sake of her husband, the odiously reptilian Gilbert Osmond, but on account of his daughter, Pansy, whom he has placed in a convent so as to separate her from an inconvenient suitor. By now Isabel has uncovered the secret of Pansy’s true origins, as the fruit of an illicit union between Osmond and the unscrupulous Madame Merle. The looming question in the book’s final chapters is what she means to do with the information, given that Madame Merle, adept at jumping to conclusions, has guessed exactly how much of her shame Isabel knows.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,