The plot turns on a fading beauty and a young heroine sharing the same unusual first name which we will learn through a series of too-remarkable coincidences is more than coincidental. Hardy manipulates the action by controlling the characters like chess pieces, and the young Cytherea is too passive, too cliched damsel-in-distress to earn our sympathy. If the plot were stronger the weakness of the heroine would be the more regrettable.
Sensation novels were a Victorian genre that relied on "surprise" but telegraphed twists like concealed marriages, out-of-wedlock births, and characters "returning from the dead.". They were criticized then and later for their lack of subtlety, reliance on impossible coincidence, and generally clumsy writing, even though such well known and acclaimed writers as Hardy, Dickens, and Wilkie Collins contributed to the genre.
Here, Hardy relies on the usual sensation plot elements, but his skill as a writer are apparent in the dialog and description. Even with the weaknesses, Remedies reads as well as a decent modern mystery and certainly isn't a waste of time.
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