Seventeen-year-old Ellan, a young woman deeply concerned with getting women the right to vote -- remember, this novel is set in 1918 -- has a passion for life and also for a young man named Richard. But Richard is the illegitimate son of a powerful and frustrated woman -- a woman whose history may be repeating itself. . . . Rebecca West was a pseudonym for Cicily Isabel Fairfield, a woman who had love affairs with Charlie Chaplin, H.G. Wells, and businessman, politician, and newspaper magnate Max Beaverbrook. She published her first novel, "The Return of the Soldier," in 1918. Her works also include "Black Lamb and Grey Falcon," "Survivors in Mexico," "The Thinking Reed," "The Fountain Overflows," and "The Birds Fall Down." She may be best known for her studies of the Nazi war crimes trials in Nuremberg: "The Meaning of Treason" (1947) and "A Train of Powder" (1955). In 1959 West was made a Dame of the British Empire.