This old novel, published in 1958, is one of the classics of the romantic suspense genre, like many other novels by this author. Mixing a bit of thriller, a bit of romance, and recurring allusions to Jane Eyre, this tale is set in the south of France. The heroine is spunky and naive, very much a Mary Sue. The hero is a big and slightly brooding alpha male with some obscure suffering in his past. The villains are properly secretive and sinister, but their camouflage didn’t deceive our young leading lady for long. Of course she finds out the truth in the nick of time, sacrifices her happiness for the poor orphan in her charge (she is a governess), prevents a terrible crime, and is justly rewarded by her prince charming in the end.
It was a nice read but nothing special. Lots of scenery description, beautiful and atmospheric, but they slowed the action considerably. I guess it wasn’t considered a literary crime 60 years ago.
This is not my favorite Stewart’s novel; I like more romance and less Gothic in my reading, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.