Palace intrigue, romance, and illicit affairs--Rebecca Dean has written a glorious novel that will sweep Philippa Gregory fans off their feet.
Delia Chandler, an eighteen-year-old Southern girl, marries Viscount Ivor Conisborough just before World War II, becoming part of the Windsor court. It's every girl's dream come true. But Delia is jolted from her pleasant life when she realizes, after the birth of her two daughters, that Ivor chose her only to bear an heir to his estate. Shortly thereafter, she begins an affair with her husband's handsome, titled, and frequently scandalous best friend.
When Conisborough is appointed as an adviser to King Fuad of Egypt, Delia exchanges one palace circle for another, far different one. While she sees Egypt as a place of exile, her two daughters regard Egypt as their home. Only when war comes to Cairo--and Delia finally reveals the secret she has kept for so long--can she begin to heal the divisions separating her from those she loves.
Rebecca Dean's irresistible combination of real events and masterful storytelling will keep readers fascinated until the very last page.
From London to Cairo, in the glittery world of high society before WWII, Dean taps into an exotic and distant world in her page-turning debut. After 18-year-old Virginia belle Delia marries older British aristocrat Ivor Conisborough, they decamp to London and get to work on producing an heir for the aging viscount. Delia is agog at her new friends in high places, but her idyll is trampled when she learns a painful secret about Ivor. Even so, Delia is endlessly infatuated with London, and she eventually has two girls, Petronella and Davina. The family, to Delia's chagrin, is relocated to Cairo on a long diplomatic mission, and here the novel really sings, as Hitler's campaign hits closer to home and everyone seems to have ulterior motives. Davina and Petronella, meanwhile, grow into young women who think of Cairo as home and fall in love with men they meet there. Dean beautifully captures the mood and color of the era--her descriptive passages are marvelous and complement the layered intrigue, romance and deception. (Mar.)
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March 22, 2009
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