Possibly James's most complex and difficult work, THE GOLDEN BOWL concerns four characters: the American art connoisseur Adam Verver, his daughter Maggie, Maggie's old school friend Charlotte Stant, and Charlotte's ex-suitor Prince Amerigo. The fabulously wealthy Ververs encounter the prince on their European tour, and he and Maggie fall in love and are married. When Charlotte comes to visit, Adam Verver asks her to marry him. The two couples settle in London, where Maggie begins to suspect the previous liaison between her husband and her friend. Desperately in love with the prince and unable to bear the presence of his old lover, Maggie persuades her father to take Charlotte back to America to live, without revealing to him what she knows. Impressed by Maggie's handling of the delicate situation, the prince falls truly in love with her. A golden bowl found in a Bloomsbury antique shop, and later smashed to pieces, serves as the emblem for the complicated web of love and betrayal James deals with in this novel.