Nina Bawden deals out her ironic shocks with scrupulous timing; the reader is thoroughly entranced and entertained' TLS
After an expensive dinner on their thirteenth wedding anniversary, James calmly announces that he wishes to leave Bridie. A cherished adopted child, she stepped into marriage - and a pet name - at the age of nineteen and has nurtured two step-children and a daughter. The habit of protecting others is strong is Bridie but now, redundant and with her happiness turned into a charade, she is uncertain of her identity. Unless she reclaims a portion of her past, Bridie fears she will have no future. The mysteries and consequences of Bridie's adoption form the bedrock of this enticing and skilfully woven novel. Here, with her characteristic wit and acuity, Nina Bawden peers into the familiar passions of family life, remembered insults, ancient scars and old deceptions.
Nina Bawden (1925-2012) was one of Britain's best-loved writers for both adults and children. Several of her children's books - Carrie's War, a Phoenix Award winner;The Peppermint Pig, which won the Guardian Fiction Award; and Keeping Henry - have become contemporary classics. She wrote over forty novels, slightly more than half of which are for adults, and she was shortlisted for the 1987 Man Booker Prize for Circles of Deceit. She received the prestigious S T Dupont Golden Pen Award for a lifetime's contribution to literature in 2004, and in 2010 The Birds on the Trees was shortlisted for the Lost Booker of 1970.