Despite the academic background [of A Formal Feeling], the atmosphere of the story is redolent of middle America; and although the texture of the narrative is tightly woven, the style—self-consciously descriptive and allusive—tends to be antiseptic. Centering on Anne's state of mind more than on her emotions, the novel not only lacks intensity but fails to attain the power of effective understatement. (pp. 173-74)
Paul Heins, in a review of "A Formal Feeling," in The Horn Book Magazine, Vol. LIX, No. 2, April, 1983, pp. 173-74.