Mary Grey had come from Canada to the land of her forebears: Northumberland, where Hadrian built his wall nearly 2000 years ago. As she leaned against the sun-warmed stones, savoring the ordered, spare beauty of England's northern fells, the silence was shattered by a single name hurled, as it were, like an epithet:
And there stood one of the angriest, most threatening young men Mary had ever seen. His name was Connor Winslow, and from his spate of words Mary discovered that he thought she was his cousin--a girl supposedly dead these past eight years. Alive, she would be heiress to an inheritance Con determined to have for himself...
Thus begins the story of an impersonation fraught with the perils of treading present depths without the buoyancy of an innocent past. To it, Mrs. Stewart brings her remarkable ability to create atmosphere be it joyous, brooding, or terrifying. And with her acknowledged talent for characterization, she delineates sharply the savage, ruthless, half-sardonical Con; his drab half-sister, Lisa, firm only in her dedication to Con and his wishes; arrogant Matthew Windlow, a failing tyrant, by tyrant nonetheless where his family was concerned; the ebullient, sometimes rebellious Cousin Julie; and Adam Forrest, the reserved owner of neighboring Forrest Hall, now a widower, but eight years before, inextricably tied to a hysterical, neurotic wife and tormented by his love for Annabel.
With admirable skill, Mary Stewart practices the full scale of uncertainty while developing a theme embellished with the rich overtones of atmosphere and characterization.
—jacket, William Morrow edition, 1962