Most Collins stories feature the plotting and counter plotting of a young woman, and an older, more experienced manipulator. This time, the manipulator is not a gentlewoman/housekeeper, or an Italian countess, but a Catholic priest -- he's in the titular skirt, so maybe it's the same thing. The Catholic religion comes in for a fair amount of criticism, and so does English stolidity. If there's ever a movie version, Jim Broadbent should play the priest, and Emily Blunt the heroine. But there probably never will be because the last third of the novel loses inspiration and SPOILER the hero succumbs to I Don't Know What to Do With Him disease.
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