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A riveting debut novel of modern marriage and modern love.
Victoria Stratford's birthday party for her ambitious husband David shows off their beautiful Wimbledon house, their wonderful children, their perfect lives.
But while Victoria welcomes her guests, the only person missing is David himself. Victoria's sister Clara and her husband Tom are at the party.
Unworldly and idealistic, Tom scorns David's quest for wealth. While Clara is content with her job as a university lecturer, she yearns for a change in her life. In the garden, the youngest sister Annie talks to her husband Hugo.
Very happy together, the only blight on their lives is Hugo's mother, whose jealousy and possessiveness have turned into a poisonous hatred of Annie.
So begins a train of events that will lead each sister down a different path - towards love, sex, grief, betrayal and happiness.
About the Author
Jane Elizabeth Varley studied at Oxford and went on to qualify as a barrister. She became a law lecturer and taught at Kingston University before becoming a full time writer. The mother of a son and a daughter, she is married and divides her time between London and the USA. Previous Books include The Truth About Love, Husbands and Other Lovers, Five Romantic Reads, Wives and Lovers.
Jane Elizabeth Varley's first novel is a modern morality tale of three married sisters with three very different lifestyles. Opening with a birthday party that Victoria is giving for her ambitious husband, parliamentary candidate David Stratford, it ends with a completely different kind of party that she finds herself throwing a year later. In between are sandwiched 12 months of unforeseen and dramatic experiences for all three women. Life has a nasty habit of not turning out as we imagine it will, even from the most promising of beginnings. Victoria's daily routine in her gorgeous Wimbledon house revolves around her two children, coffee mornings and pandering to her difficult husband's whims. Privileged on the surface, she fails to see its emptiness. Sister Clara is a very different character. She teaches criminal law at college, is married to Tom, a social worker and appears to enjoy a much more down-to-earth existence. Annie, the youngest and the most contented of the trio, is happily married to Hugo who runs his family's conservatory business. With each career success, David grows more discontented but Victoria remains with him because she isn't brave enough to leave. Even when one of her sisters hints at David's infidelity, she dismisses the suggestion, hiding her head in the sand. Clara begins to realize that she's bored by husband Tom's love-making and becomes obsessed by one of her handsome young students, Ben. Annie has the worst luck of all when a phone call informs her that Hugo has been killed in a road accident. Suddenly she's faced with the traumas of widowhood plus possible bankruptcy and homelessness. The novel is about tearing up scripts and re-writing them. Each woman has to find her own way through the unexpected dilemmas that appear in the wake of the birthday party. There will ultimately be a truly shocking outcome for Clara, disillusionment coupled with revenge for Victoria and unmanageable despair for Annie before all three manage to turn the corner. An enjoyable read with many surprising twists and turns highlighting the difficulties of love and marriage in a fast-moving career-oriented age. (Kirkus UK)
Published: 1st May 2004
Dimensions (cm): 3.175 x 11.43 x 17.78
Weight (kg): 0.227