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Richard Hardy, a member of the British gentry, tries to resolve problems in his marriage as he travels with a psychiatrist. The book is to a great extent autobiographical. H. G. had read some brilliantly composed articles by a writer who wrote under the name Rebecca West. In one piece she called H. G. "pseudo-scientific." He contacted her and asked what she meant. When they met for lunch, it was the beginning of a very intense and volatile relationship. Soon she was pregnant, so he divided his time between her and his wife Jane with their two sons. After World War I, Rebecca became more demanding. She wanted him to divorce Jane. Finally, in 1923 Wells told Rebecca she should either get serious about her writing or break off their relationship. The criticism stung her. After a speaking tour in the U.S., she returned newly independent, and the two went their separate ways. In this novel H. G. based the character Martin on Rebecca, who both mesmerized and repelled him.