A wonderfully gossipy novel that whisks readers through the glamorous worlds of turn-of-the-century Vienna, Paris, and London.
The Rakonitz family - rich, cosmopolitan, and Jewish - is ruled over by the indomitable will of the matriarch, Anastasia. From her exotically furnished house in west London, Anastasia holds court over her children, grandchildren, and vast extended family. For someone must resolve the quarrels, celebrate the births, deaths, engagements, bankruptcies, artistic triumphs, and explain the only way to prepare a delicious Crème Düten.
With the dawning of the twentieth century, a series of scandals and financial catastrophes strike the Rakonitzes, threatening the family ties and calling into question the legacy that binds them together.
`There is wealth here, and gaiety. There is middle European style, and food in abundance. It is very un-English, and enormously attractive.' - Julia Neuberger