In the novel the unhappily-married heroine, Diane Warwick, begins an adulterous affair with a parliamentarian, eventually provoking political and social scandal. The novel is generally considered to be sympathetic to the female point of view, and to highlight the social restrictions experienced by women. As such, it is sometimes described as an example of feminist fiction.
The characters are generally assumed to be based on real-life figures, and the action of the novel is based on historically factual events.
It is not clear which characters from this particular novel illustrate the topic under discussion (women in literature who are presented as friends).