A Favourite of the Gods : Henry James's theme of the New World (naí¯ve, upright, puritanical) confronting the Old (steeped in sophisticated and unscrupulous charm) is here explored by a novelist who has witnessed two world wars. Her protagonist is Constanza, a beautiful Italian-American pagan born to privilege and happiness - a seeming "favourite of the gods." But in the years of her maturity she becomes aware of what she lacks - a purpose and a part. Who am I, she asks, and what is it I can do? "This," writes Bedford, "is not a poor little rich girl's plaint. It is the quest that lurks within every human creature fortunate to lift its head above the daily grind."