Dora Mannering is a little brat when we first meet her at 16. She and her father are tenants of a house in Bloomsbury. They are not wealthy—he is a scientist who works at a museum—and they occupy three rooms although the rooms are well-appointed. Dora has no understanding of what it means to be very poor and disdains thoughts of money.
Dora doesn’t remember her mother, and her father never speaks of her. Someone sends her a box of gifts once a year, anonymously, and he is not happy when it arrives.
Dora’s father becomes very ill, which throws Dora more into the company of others in the household. Miss Bethune is one, a wealthy Scottish spinster who lives with her maid. Dr. Roland, who believes he could treat Mr. Mannering’s illness better than the expensive society doctor called in, is another.
Then a strange lady appears, or rather, her envoy, a young man, who approaches Miss Bethune with a request that she receive the lady and invite Dora over at the same time. It’s not too hard to guess who the lady is, but the circumstances of the original separation also come out.
Miss Bethune also has a secret.
I’m not sure if this novel would have been considered a sensation novel in its time, because the secrets don’t turn out to be that shocking, but there are a few emotional scenes and two different women who are hysterical at times. However, the novel features likable characters and has a satisfying ending. The heroine grows up, and people are kind to each other.