Sarah Grand's dual novel of the diabolically mischievous twins Diavolo and Angelica and the coming of age of nineteen-year-old Evadne valiantly explores subjects considered taboo for a female writer of the Victorian age. Through her characters, Grand, considered one of the "New Woman" writers of the late 1800s, courageously advocated "rational dress," financial independence, personal fulfillment over marriage and motherhood, and the freedom of women to initiate sexual relationships outside of wedlock and to openly discuss such volatile sexual topics as a woman's right to contraception. She was one of the first to explore the complexity of gender roles and their inherent constraints.
Grand's ability to stimulate controversy was nearly unsurpassed. Publishers refused to issue The Heavenly Twins —so the author ensured its publication by paying for it herself, raising capital from a network of supporters.
Not only did Grand's innovative writing become the object of censure, but the author herself endured relentless attacks on her morality and personality. The issues close to Grand, manifested in her prose and by her personal experience, are as relevant today as they were in her time.