`A powerful and merciless book - a classic coming-of-age novel' -- Hilary Mantel
'Wide windows, not yet shuttered at that hour, opened from the circular white-washed room on slopes of olives and the distant shimmering bay. Flavia turned seventeen, alone, entirely alone for the first time in her life . . .'
As the Second World War looms, Flavia is living in a small village in the South of France. She studies for her Oxford entrance, swims in the sea, eats at local cafés, and lives with the confidence and relish of youth.
Drawn into the demi-monde of artists and writers, Flavia awakes to the pleasures and complications of adult life. Her world is overturned when she becomes fascinated by Andrée - beautiful, sophisticated, yet manipulative - and is caught up in a devastating intrigue.
This is a dramatic companion novel to A Favourite of the Gods, also published by Daunt Books.
There will always be people for whom her books are part of their mind's life, and people who are discovering her for the first time as if entering a lighted room.' --Victoria Glendinning
`A mesmerising writer' -- Nicholas Shakespeare, Daily Telegraph
`One of our greatest writers' -- Rosie Boycott
`The lure of the sensual life, "the picnics, lobster salad, hock and seltzer and going to the opera, in Italy, in summer" . . . Bedford has the supreme novelist's openness to chance experience, the ability to trace significant patterns in seemingly inconsequential things.' -- The Times
`Sophisticated.... skilful... she demonstrates firm control of form and clarity of style.' -- New Statesman