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Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781860499135

Price: £13.99

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‘Fascinating . . . [A] big sumptuous book . . . her best novel’ ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

‘[A] brilliant, witty and provocative new novel’ SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

‘Compelling writing . . . Remarkably skilful’ BOSTON GLOBE

‘Mates are not always matches, and matches are not always mates.’

As a young woman, the dazzling and eternally curious Magda Danvers took the academic world by storm. Then, to everyone’s surprise, she married Francis Lake, a mild, midwestern seminarian, who has devoted his life to taking care of his charismatic wife. Now, Magda’s grave illness puts their marriage to its ultimate test.

Into this provocative atmosphere comes Alice Henry, retreating from family tragedy and a crumbling marriage to novelist Hugo Henry. But is it the incandescence of Magda’s ideas that draws Alice, or the secret of ‘the good marriage’ that she is desperate to discover? For Alice, Hugo, Francis and Magda will learn that the most ideal relationship – even a perfect marriage – doesn’t come without a price . . .

Moving from the Deep South to Eastern Europe and the cathedral towns of England, this is a rich and rewarding novel with the scope and all the moral force of George Eliot.

Virago Modern Classics