The incomplete Amorist by Edith Nesbit is the tale of a complicated love quadrangle between four people, full of melodramatic moments. The story begins in England when the eighteen year old Betty Desmond a pretty, naive girl bored out of her mind by the monotony of her country life, goes out to draw and meets Eustace Vernon, a thirty-something painter the amorist himself, who means no harm but goes to great lengths to win the ladies just to appease his vanity and in short is a world-class flirt. Vernon also has little to do, and they start meeting with their art supplies in the forest. He paints her portrait and helps her with her artistic skills. Their attraction to each other alarms her prudish stepfather who sends her off to a French boarding school.
The plot transforms into the time when Betty soon finds herself in Paris, studying art. At first she is there under the chaperonage of an eminently respectable woman but before too long Betty finds herself on her own and then that is when Vernon re-enters her life.
It has only been a few months since they parted in England but, Vernon has filled that time with more love affairs. In Paris he is already renewing his acquaintance with an old love of his, Lady St. Craye, but Betty who is more confident and more focused now that she has experienced independence and her art is improving – catches his interest. She also catches the interest of his much more respectable and forthright acquaintance, Robert Temple, though Temple also wonders if he might not be in love with Lady St. Craye. The story is based upon how each of the four people think they are in love with the two people of the opposite sex and must make up their mind which is their true love.
Best part of story, including ending:
This story has all the feelings: Intrigue, miscommunication, love, guilt, and jealousy which is not easy for an author.
Best scene in story:
My favorite is when betty sees Vernon for the first time described as : He was in white, the sleeve and breast of his painting jacket smeared with many colours; he had a camp-stool and an easel and looked, she could not help feeling, much more like a real artist than she did, hunched up as she was on a little mound of turf, in her shabby pink gown and that hateful garden hat with last year's dusty flattened roses.
Opinion about the main character:
I liked the innocence in Betty and her transformation into a much more strong willed woman.