I don't think this is one of his very best works and prefer The Ambassadors and The Portrait of a Lady, but it is interesting and enjoyable nonetheless. None of the characters are very reasonable (the main characters are, perhaps, not even agreeable), and the reader is torn between taking sides with Olive, Verena, or Basil, even though James has a slight bias for Basil, a reactionary. The structure of the novel seems excentric when compared with James's other novels: Basil, the hero, is absent for long stretches, and the finale includes a bit of comedy with a policeman. This scene verges on slap-stick and comes as a shock, in an otherwise intense and somber love story. The prose, however, is beautiful throughout and easier to read than that of his later novels.