I did not like this novel. A weak, unworthy character and circumstantial salvation/restoration/development of moral character.
A lady with a nice son and daughter tries reforming a wild young man, Ormond, after someone is nearly killed. Ormond takes a tiny step and then slides into philandering.
He then is fascinated by a empty-headed doll. He sees through her. He does not. Does he ever? He is saved from marrying her when she marries another, but since he did not break with her . . . not pleasing. (Unfortunately he is not actually saved from her and what is worse he does not save himself which would have prevented all future problems).
Now a polished but morally weak young man (whitewashed tomb anyone?), he is reacquainted with the honorable family (and much more slowly than before) falls in love with the daughter. The son dies (what was his point in the story . . . aiding the romance?). Ormond sees another man making a proposal, jumps to the wrong conclusion (although his lady should have chosen that more worthier man . . . yet I had that main-character-loyalty for him that made me want them to marry), and runs away (wow, way to really pursue with perseverance) . . . to France and the married empty-headed doll.
He is at the point of becoming the lover of the horrible doll when he is called away on business affairs (like I said, circumstantial salvation and morality). Eventually after confusion is sorted out he marries the lady.
The match does not feel like a love match because of the intensity of Ormond’s emotions with the horrid doll and the fact that more emphasis is given to Ormond and the horrid doll’s connection, actions, reactions, conversations, etc than to those between him and his future wife. The style of writing devoted to any of the real couple scenes is cursory in contrast the style of writing involving Ormond and the horrid girl which evokes a feeling of intensity. (Are there any conversations between him and his future wife?! Or is it just descriptions, and brief, for-information rather than for-illustration descriptions at that). Ugh.