This was written in 1969 of an era about 100 years earlier in good ole Victorian England in all its glorious bigotry. The prose makes a unique contrast of yesteryear to today. The author goes to extreme length to describe the wild rural setting, the prejudices of the era, and to develop his characters. Also somewhat different is his way of introducing his ideas, characters, and events. All this makes him slow to bring the reader to the point of realization that this is yet another tale of the eternal triangle. In Chapter 13 he confesses that he knows not where the plot will take him; he will follow the lead of his characters. Yet, while he tells us that his characters are in control, he often hints that he is well aware of their future. Periodically he will digress to comment upon, or to parody other writers: to wit his burlesque of Cleland (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure better known as Fanny Hill) in which he narrates a pornographic scene without the use of profanity, or even a direct description of the acts being performed by the participantsit is all left to the readers interpolation. Time and again he brings his protagonist to the brink of the abyss. Or is the protagonist bringing the author to the brink? Who is the protagonist? My impression was certainly different from that finally expressed by the author. He abruptly brings the novel to denouement, then reneges. April fool! Again, he considers ending the novel, but wait! First the author must weigh the options of his characters. Which should it be: deductive or inductive reasoning? At times I wish that he would put the options to a vote by his readers, but then I realize that the author has become of his own characters. Well he has finally done what he threatened; he has forced upon us a double ending. That should satisfy everyone. Pick that which suits your interpretation of the novel.