Consider Vivien in November 1922. She is twenty four, and a spinster. She wears fashionably droopy clothes, but she is plain and - worse - intelligent. At nearly six foot tall, she is known unkindly by her family as 'the giantess'.
Fortunately, Vivien is rich, so she can travel to London and bribe a charismatic London publisher to marry her. What he does not know is that Vivien is pregnant with another's child, and will die in childbirth in just a few months.
Fay Weldon, with one eye on the present and one on the past, offers Vivien's fate to the reader, along with that of London between the wars: a city soaked in drizzle, peopled with flat-chested flappers, shell-shocked servicemen and aristocrats desperately clinging onto the past.
Inventive, witty and empathetic, this is a spellbinding historical novel from one of the foremost novelists of our time.
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