Catherine Carter tells of two ardent people who loved each other passionately and who have to fight to bring their love to fulfilment. They also have to fight a conflict between themselves, for, despite their love, their ambitions clash head-on. This conflict is presented without any softening of the truth, and no such relation has ever been treated with greater warmth, compassion, depth of understanding.
Set in the theatrical London of the 1880’s, the story opens when Henry Peverel is a youngish actor rising to the height of his power and fame. He has every needful gift, but he cannot bear competition. Into his company is introduced an aspiring actress, Catherine Carter, fifteen years younger, just at the start of her career. Almost at once she loves and venerates Henry; but she believes that she can become his artistic equal.
Much has to happen before he returns her love and the two are united on this plane while on the artistic plane, both continue to struggle with the other’s nature and their own.