A very modern love story, exploring the lives - and traps - facing women of three generations.
Sarah Penn and Maggie Reave are sisters, as different as a tabby and a tiger. Sarah has married kind, reliable Leo and settled contentedly into small-town life. Maggie, light-hearted and footloose, has spent fifteen years drifting round the world with a backpack and a cheerful willingness to do any menial job as long as it has no future.
But now Maggie has come home, pregnant, and undecided whether or not to keep the baby. And as she discusses this with her sister, lets slip that she's had an abortion before, and that the father was Maggie's husband. This throws everything into confusion, but Christmas brings reconciliation and a new baby.
Clever, humane, elegant and wise. Like the Dutch masters, who saw beauty in a woman sewing, or cracking eggs, and whose calm elegance her prose recalls, she sees the fragility and strangeness that are present in even the most commonplace of lives, if only one knows how to look.
Families are funny things in real life, as in the novels of Libby Purves. . . Still, all's well that ends well as things usually do in the novels of the perceptive Ms Purves.
Purves tackles a number of topical issues head-on, while astutely depicting family life
Most gripping . . . erupts with extraordinary and unexpected force. - David Shukman, Daily Mail
A satisfying cocktail of sexual politics and common sense. - East Anglian Daily Times
Calm eye, coherent thought and deft plotting . . . A thoughtful and compelling read with a wise message for modern parents. - Wigan Evening Post
Libby Purves is a writer and also a broadcaster who has presented the talk programme Midweek on Radio 4 since 1984 and formerly presented Today. She is a main columnist on the Times and in 1999 was named the Granada "What the Papers Say" Columnist of the Year, and awarded a O.B.E for services to journalism. She lives in Suffolk with her husband the broadcaster and writer Paul Heiney.