It is a remarkable novel. Part romantic, part mystery, part coming of age. Despite his shabbiness and somewhat grayish appearance (I kinda imagined a modern day, academic Remus Lupin) Roland was and is my favorite character. There are no villains in this, nor are there white knights, everyone is in between shades of gray, which I liked a lot. I love novels that offer up intellectual puzzle and this one paid off big thing where I'm concerned. The way the poetry and the letters and the journals are put together forming a wonderfully weaved story is fascinating to read and to try to find the clues and keys hidden along the way. Even if Byatt based her Christabel LaMotte on Christina Rossetti and her Randolph Ash on Robert Browning, both her characters have a life of their own, words of their own and knew a love that was unique, unexpected and tragic. Well worth the time to read the poetry, the letters and the journals that are at the heart of the book. Skipping them is somehow cheating oneself of something quite amazing.