Leonora and Edward Ashburnham were "good people" from England, as John Dowell, the narrator of this tale, explains: and Dowell and his wife, Florence leisured Americans of solid stock were, like their English friends, a "model couple."
For a dozen years, the foursome cultivated and maintained a friendship reinforced with yearly meetings at a fashionable German health resort, which Dowell visited with his "ailing" wife and the Asburnhams traveled to because of Edward's "heart problems." Their marriages seemed exemplary studies of permanence, stability, and tranquility. That is, until the day Dowell learned that for the previous nine years his wife had been the mistress of his friend Captain Ashburnham, the apparently honorable "good soldier."
A provocative study of deception and betrayal and of convention and desire, "The Good Soldier" was also formally innovative. Along with Ford's "Parade's End" tetralogy, this powerful novel first published in 1915 has earned him a reputation as one of the major writers of the 20th century.