So I read the novel in one sitting. It was surprisingly quick and easy to read. I had the impression that Henry James was supposed to be a laborious author , but apparently, the book was written in his easy period. As he grew older, he wrote increasingly dense books.
The plot is simple enough. Rich daughter wants to marry a poor bloke. Her Aunt, the exhibit of feminine silliness, cheers her on the path of love. The Daddy, a exhibit of callous rationality, refuses to bless her relationship. The simple virtuous daughter is torn between duty to her father and her love.
Right we have seen this before, haven’t we? Yeah, youthful love against parental control. The encompassing power of true love. You would think, but Henry James doesn’t make it that easy you.
The suitor turns out to be a selfish guy who lives of his sister and doesn’t work. The father is completely right in his assessment of the man–not husband material.
Whom do you root for? The daughter who is clearly not judging the situation right? Or the Father who is right but also callous and cold, towards the end of the novel grows manipulative as he tries to make his daughter see the light. A rather bleak but very real situation.
You should read the story to find how it all ends. Don’t be scared that is a classic book with Victorian prose. Actually his prose is rather direct unlike Dickens meandering style. I suggest skipping a few pages to when the daughter is being courted, if you are worried about dry narrative. Definitely worth a read though.