Pub Date 19 May 2017
It’s 1920, and England is recovering from war.
Evangelina Belfry, a woman of questionable reputation and morals, has fallen down the stairs at her home, breaking her neck and dying.
Her daughter Marina shows up to discover Evangelina’s landlord, George Greenwood, on the scene.
He says he discovered Evangelina at the bottom of the stairs, but in fact he was with her when they struggled and she fell.
Guilty, he runs from the house and stumbles into his sister Louisa and her partner.
He tells them he killed Evangelina, and they agree to provide an alibi.
But betrayal is afoot, and they then set out to blackmail George, bleeding him dry of what little money he makes as a banker.
By 1938, to save her from an indecent fate, George has married Evangelina’s daughter Marina, but there is no love in the marriage.
Marina is frigid, and loathes most things and most people, including George’s controlling mother Sybil, who lives with them at High Greenwood, the family estate George has inherited, but now cannot afford to run.
Marina writes romance novels, saving the money in the hopes of leaving George, but once she gives birth to their daughter, Daphne, escape seems more and more remote.
Cold and unmaternal, Marina sends Daphne to boarding school at the age of eleven. Marina simply wants her gone and convinces George this is necessary for health reasons.
But at boarding school, Daphne meets Celia Hartley, who’s loud, brash, and starts a volatile friendship with Daphne, that will change both girls’ lives.
What’s more, with war looming and George enlisted in the army, Daphne and Marina are left on their own, as the past comes back to haunt them and the future seems uncertain, struggling to make it in a world consumed by war, and a family consumed by secrets and sins.