I read this many years ago for my Women's Lit class and remember enjoying it.
At the turn of the century "in one of those grey towns along the Burlington railroad, which are so much greyer today than they were then, there was a house well known for its hospitality and for a certain cfharm of atmosphere....No house was pleasanter than that of Captain Daniel Forrester....In the eyes of the admiring middle-aged men who visited there, whatever Mrs. Forrester chose to do was 'lady-like' because she did it. They could not imagine her in any dress or situation in which she would not be charming."
Marian Forrester is pictured through the eyes of a young man who wa at first more than a little in love with her but came at last both to see her without illusion and to grasp the changes in her and in the town of Sweet Water.
The structure of the book was masterful, especially the late revealing of the reason the "lost lady" was so loyal to her husband, as well as what she was willing to compromise for financial security.
Another tale of the plains around 1900, this is an entertaining and easy read for an evening or two. As always the authors prose and character development are simple, yet fully matured. Once you start any of her books you will find it difficult to put down and will anticipate finding another.
The book is like an American Dr. Zhivago (of course, being American, it's a lot shorter)
There is a reason this is not known as one of Cather's better books.