By Frances Osborne
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780345803283, 336pp.)
Publication Date: June 12, 2012
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A Goldsboro Crown Historical Fiction Award Nominee
The bestselling author of The Bolter returns with a delicious novel about two determined women whose lives collide in the halls of a pedigreed London town home.
When eighteen-year-old Grace Campbell arrives in London in 1914, she’s unable to fulfill her family’s ambitions and find a position as an office secretary. Lying to her parents and her brother, Michael, she takes a job as a housemaid at Number 35, Park Lane, where she is quickly caught up in lives of its inhabitants—in particular, those of its privileged son, Edward, and daughter, Beatrice, who is recovering from a failed relationship that would have taken her away from an increasingly stifling life. Desperate to find a new purpose, Bea joins a group of radical suffragettes and strikes up an intriguing romance with an impassioned young lawyer. Unbeknownst to each of the young women, the choices they make amid the rapidly changing world of WWI will connect their chances at future happiness in dramatic and inevitable ways.
Frances Osborne was born in London and studied philosophy and modern languages at Oxford University. She is the author of Lilla’s Feast and The Bolter. Her articles have appeared in The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Independent, the Daily Mail, and Vogue. She lives in London with her husband, George Osborne, and their two children.
"Osborne has created a thoughtful and evocative tale of class barriers eroding and opportunities expanding."
"Though Bea and Edward are virtually unacquainted with Grace and Michael, the lives of all four already are more connected than they can imagine. And those connections will become more complex—and, in Osborne’s hands, intriguing—as war begins to impact the foundations of British society." —The Star-Ledger
"Fans of Downton Abbey will have plenty of reading choices this summer to fill the void left by the popular television series, including Frances Osborne's second novel.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Acclaim for Frances Osborne's The Bolter:
“Fascinating. . . beautifully written. . . . Frances Osborne brings the decadence of Britain’s dying aristocracy vividly to life in this story of scandal and heartbreak.” —Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Young Stalin and Stalin: Court of the Red Tsar
“Osborne spins out an enjoyable pot-boiler, with lots of juicy details.” —New York Post
“[A] wildly entertaining biography.” —More
“For those who can’t ever get enough of the frolics and affairs of the British upper class in the ‘20s and ‘30s, this is the book for you. . . . Brilliant and utterly divine. . . . Full of charming details and wonderfully good stories about old scandals. . . . It’s a breath of fresh air from a vanished world.” —Michael Korda, The Daily Beast
“Osborne has written an engaging book, drawing a revealing portrait of a remarkable woman and adding humanity to her 'scandalous' life. . . . And what a life it was." —The Wall Street Journal