Palliser Wentwood, dangerously charming, has run away to England, leaving his farm in New Zealand, his beautiful wife Salome, his daughters, and his many creditors. Palliser is in search of a fortune, enough to restore the prosperity of farm and family. In Thule Hall, Herts, live the Lovelaces - Hubert and Blanche, brother and sister -both amazingly tall and immensely fat, shy and gothically retired. Engaged as butler, and posing as a grieving widower, Palliser turns his charms on Blanche, teasing out laughter and beauty where before there was only timidity. But will his deception succeed? Can he bring himself to ruin her? Or will Salome succumb to the gentle siege of Philip Butterworth, solicitor and suitor? An exceptional first novel, wise and funny and sad in equal measure, and peopled by a cast of characters as singular as they are delightful.
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Imogen de la Bere divides her time between England and New Zealand, where she has built up a following for her writing on a diverse range of subjects, from theatre, through opera and rock music, to matters of religion. Originally a scholar of Elizabethan popular prose, she found surprisingly few openings in this area, and so resigned herself to a lifetime as a computer consultant, a professional calling that has so far provided no material whatsoever for her fictions.From the Back Cover:
( Mail on Sunday) Salome Wentwood, the heroine, is encountered, shotgun in hand, preparing to drive away predators from her New Zealand farm. There's a hint of Hardy's Bathsheba about her - and the four daughters who watch the local bachelors come a-courting. Palliser Wentwood, absent husband, is in England, trying to talk his way into money. He begins as a butler, seducing his vulnerable employer. A well-written first novel that shows talent.
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Book Description VINTAGE, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0099272792