A tale of romance and illusion–and what's left of love when they're stripped away. After the sudden death of her husband, a young American woman flees to England, the site of the nostalgic fantasies her father spun for her in her childhood before disappearing for good. Once there, she is drawn into the tangled lives of an aristocratic family whose secrets are gradually revealed to her, exposing the nightmare beneath the elegant façade.


"A wordsmith of the highest order, Toynton weaves a deeply cinematic story."
Library Journal, starred review


"With rich literary allusions, Toynton delivers a classic story set in Thatcher’s England. Themes of parental legacy, lost innocence, the impermanence of life, DNA versus nurture, and illusion versus reality wrap vine-like around evocative locales and vivid characters."
Booklist, starred review


A well-told and gripping drama"."
Times Literary Supplement, UK


 "An intense and beautifully written novel, a vivid portrayal of romantic Anglophilia and disillusionment, explored in all its sorrowful and comic complexity."
— Joan Brady, Whitbread Award-winning author of Theory of War

"A scrupulously observed story of an American Anglophile confronted by the quirks, cruelties and delusions of the English upper classes – I was fascinated."
— Lynn Freed, author of The Last Laugh

"Evelyn Toynton’s riveting new novel, about an American in England who falls under the spell of an aristocratic family, artfully explores the damage done by ideals and illusions, while exposing the underlying reality no one wants to acknowledge."
— Carole Angier, biographer of Jean Rhys and Primo Levi

"Evelyn Toynton's latest novel is a pitch-perfect exploration of an aristocratic English family whose inheritance is both glorious and grim. With her superb eye for cultural and psychological details, Toynton pulls us easily into a world that is at once familiar and uncommon, dark, witty, and achingly human."
— Elizabeth Benedict, author of Almost


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