Laura Leroy, wife of a British attaché, leads a divided existence, torn between her beloved home in England and diplomatic society in Peking – an ancient city of exquisite allure.
When Laura joins a group of expats on an expedition to the great monastery at Chieh T’ai Ssu, they become intoxicated by the mysterious beauty of the Chinese landscape in spring (and by one another). But far from the comforting whirl of cocktails and picnic parties, they soon encounter a shocking clash that threatens the security of their newfound bond.
Set in the vanished era of 1930s Peking, this enthralling novel captures the unfamiliar thrill of a new city, the excitement of secret love, and the everlasting tension between the old and the new.
Read the first chapter here.
‘A first novel of rare quality – beautiful, grave, humorous, exciting, and wise.’ – Observer
‘Few people can evoke the spirit of a place more vividly than Ann Bridge.’ – Linda Kelly
‘Almost unmixed delight . . . It is pictorial and exciting and illuminating.’ – L. P. Hartley
‘An unusual and beautiful first novel, which leaves one thinking long after one has put it down.’ – Spectator