Reading the back cover of my copy of this book, I learn that Edgeworth was once the bestselling author of Regency England. Reading the novel itself, I see why.
The back cover also reveals that Edgeworth once eclipsed Austen in both sales and esteem. This is harder to understand. Though beautifully written and intricately plotted, it lacks the wit and wisdom which makes Austen so exceptional.
The story concerns Helen Stanley who is forced to accept the hospitality of her married friend, Lady Cecilia. When Helen begins to receive the attentions of her own suitor, she finds her loyalty to her lying, cheating friend threatens her own chance of happiness (although we know it will turn out alright in the end).
Amidst all the emotional turmoil there is also the social commentary we expect from our Regency ladies.