Paula Power, the daughter of a wealthy railway magnate, inherits De Stancy Castle, an ancient castle in need of modernization. She commissions George Somerset, a young architect, to undertake the work. Somerset falls in love with Paula. But Paula, the Laodicean of the title, is undecided. She is torn between George's admiration and that of Captain De Stancy, whose old-world romanticism contrasts with Somerset's forward-looking outlook. Paula's vacillation in her romantic life is also reflected in her views about religion, politics, and social progress. She will have to decide between the two men, however, or risk losing them both.
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by Thomas Hardy
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