St. Martin's, 2005 (2004)
Reviewed by Shannon Bigham
is set in the English countryside in the 1960s. The Chandlers are an aristocratic family. Sir Harry and Lady Felicity have been married for many years and have four children. Eighteen-year-old Alice is the beautiful daughter, while the slightly older Eve is the intelligent one. Kathy is younger, while mischievous Hugo is the youngest sibling. The Chandlers reside at Edgerton, a palatial mansion set on many acres of land, and the family home for many generations.
he Chandlers are a highly interesting, curious family. Harry is a philanderer who practices the utmost discretion in his affairs. While he has no intention of staying faithful to his marriage, he intends to stick with Felicity and does not want to publicly humiliate her. However, she is well aware of his affairs and is hurt to the bone by them. When a childhood friend comes to town after many years of absence, Felicity embarks on her own affair, unbeknownst to Harry. Meanwhile, Alice has recently married a wealthy childhood friend, Edward, who is of '
', and an '
'. Eve is at Oxford where she has found a boyfriend of her own, which makes her feel treasured and special. Unfortunately, Alice is desperately unhappy in her marriage because she does not love Edward and misses the family home. Alice tries to find happiness by pairing up with Marcus, a hot-blooded man who does not treat her properly. When Alice finds herself in a difficult predicament and Eve comes forth to assist her, the lives of the Chandlers are drastically changed.
found this unusual novel quite engrossing. While it is chock full of philandering, affairs, and scandal, it really is not
. Rather, it details the interesting and provocative relationships that the Chandlers have with each other, as well as with those '
outside the family.
' Reading about the family and Edgerton is entertaining as well as fascinating, since most of us do not come from aristocracy or great wealth. Annabel Dilke also has a wonderful, wry sense of humor (primarily involving, Beatrice, Harry's mother), which is peppered throughout the novel and makes
an even better read.
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