Growing up in the listless nineteen-eighties, Cecilia Normanton knew her father well, her mother not at all. Mr. Normanton was handsome and tall, with steely gray hair brushed carefully every day so that it was as he wished it to be. His shirts and suits gave the impression of being part of him, as his house in Buckingham Street did, and the family business that bore his name. Only Mr. Normanton’s profound melancholy was entirely his own. It was said by people who knew him well that melancholy had not always been his governing possession , that once upon a time he had been carefree and a little wild, that the loss of his wife—not to the cruelty of an early death but to her preference for another man—had left him wounded in a way that was irreparable.
What substitution do you recommend for these words?