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Victoria Clayton is married and lives in Northamptonshire. She is the author of many previous novels, including Clouds Among the Stars for HarperCollins.
A witty, charming romantic comedy from the author of Clouds Among the Stars. Roberta is appalled to have to abandon her perfect life in London to return to the family home and look after her mother, who has taken breaking her hip as a sign to stay in bed all day reading romance novels. Her involvement with a married polititian may have been a direct consequence of this. When the inevitable scandal breaks, Roberta flees - and accepts a job as housekeeper to an eccentric family, and is summoned to their family home - an enormous castle in the Irish countryside. Arriving in Ireland, Roberta takes a hair-raising pony and trap ride in the driving rain to reach her destination: Curraghcourt. It is a grand and imposing castle, although it has fallen into a state of bad disrepair. And when she meets the family, Roberta begins to understand why. The owner's wife, Violet, is lying in her room in a coma. His charming but vague sister is addicted to poetry; and his mistress Sissy has a private line to the fairies. Completing the family unit are three dysfunctional children. The novel follows Roberta's efforts to restore Curraghcourt and reform the wayward family. She quickly finds redeeming qualities in even the most infuriating characters and falls in love with the melancholy madness of the household. The wonderful cast of characters includes eccentric friends, the fiery yet sentimental neighbours, assorted hangers-on and admirers. Victoria Clayton has written an enchanting novel, a wonderful social comedy.
A witty, perceptive social comedy, perfect for lovers of Anita Shreve and Elizabeth Buchan. The Byng family, theatrical down to the youngest, 12 year-old Cordelia, are stunned out of even their normal self-involvement by the news that their father, the celebrated Shakespearean actor, has apparently killed his rival on stage during the last rehearsals for the new production of King Lear. Waldo Byng is arrested for murder and held in police custody : the press camp outside the house, detectives attempt to interview the family and friends, and Clarissa Byng abandons the entire scene by fleeing with her longtime companion. It is left to the rest of the family to try to find a way through this disaster and above all to earn some money as the play is naturally cancelled. The nine months from arrest to the final trial are a wonderful learning curve about the real world for all of them, in particular for Harriet, considered the most 'sensible' of the remarkable family. Clouds among the Stars is a true pleasure to read: witty, perceptive about some of our social habits, with an outstanding cast of characters, wonderful scenes including some of the best parties and theatrical behaviour; and above all written with a style, charm and verve that makes one want to start to read it again as soon as one has finished.