I read this book out of sheer boredom and was really glad that i had been so bored . Henry James emerges as an extremely observant writer who knew the range of acrobatics the female mind is capable of . What is even better is that he manages to etch out all his characters in detail , so that you feel you have met them them somewhere,sometime . The book is real,sad and comical at the same time .I got so involved that i wished i could think for the heroine .....a gutsy, feisty woman , who manages to be sad and happy all at one time. I did feel that the book is the story of almost every woman .....the aspirations and dreams in comparison to stark reality . It deals with the changes in a woman's thoughts and aspirations and how, in the end, compromise is the key . Although the language is a tad old fashioned and some of the conversations and introspections of the characters are long-winded , it is worth it .......and i wonder how many would like the ending !!