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By 20th century women authors - Published on Amazon.com
This is a tale of a young English girl who takes a job as a governess in the Italian countryside. She knows very little about the world, and is a sharp contrast to her Italian employers, who find her charming but naive. The story unfolds on several levels, and showcases several different kinds of love. From the wise matriarch of the family, who watches over everyone, to the beautiful mother unhappily approaching middle age, to the young and innocent governess, and even to the children of the family, contrasts are drawn between family love, selfish love, ignorant love, and selfless love. The intertwining of everyone's different motives brings the heroine to the brink of disaster, from which she is rescued by those who love wisely. The plot includes a rather tart commentary on the belief of some in the author's day that a woman who has been attacked is in some way morally at fault. In any case, the story finds its way to a peaceful close with new wisdom for all charactersl. Ann Bridge wrote brainy and complex novels, with a lot to ponder. While some of the lessons were more attuned to post-Victorian England, some of them will resonate with the modern reader as well.