Constanza and her young daughter step off a train in the French Riviera in the late 1920s without the slightest notion of where they are. But their story begins with Constanza’s parents: a beautiful New England heiress, a Roman prince, and the confused catastrophe of their marriage. An idyllic childhood spent in crumbling Roman palaces, sun-baked olive groves, at sumptuous parties, and being taught by the most interesting men in Rome, is changed forever by a fatal clash of culture and an impulsive decision.
In this elegant novel, Sybille Bedford tells the story of three generations of women, of Europe and America, and the turbulence and excitement of the early twentieth century.
This is a dramatic companion novel to A Compass Error, also published by Daunt Books.
‘One of Britain’s most stylish and accomplished writers.’ – Telegraph
‘Sybille Bedford is the most sensual of writers. No one writes as she does about the smells and colours of the Mediterranean, about the pleasure of food and wine’ – Victoria Glendinning
‘An excellent stylist and a splendid narrator . . . and this is a very clever work.’ – New Yorker
‘A study of the rich . . . an examination of love . . . and a statement of what Henry James either did not or would not know about the darker side of the portrait of the lady. Bedford’s mind is radiant. Her alarming economy of style burns. – V. S. Pritchett