It is London in the late 1930s, and into a coterie of rather grand early-middle-aged people the sixteen-year-old orphan Portia is plunged beyond her depth.
Disconcertingly vulnerable, Portia is manifestly trying to understand what is going on around her and looking for something that is not there.
Evident victim, she is also an inadvertent victimiser - her impossible lovingness and austere trust being too much for her admirer Eddie, who is himself defensive and uncomfortable in this society which has managed to bring them together.
In the midst of the rising tension is set perhaps Elizabeth Bowen's most brilliant piece of social comedy, when, at a seaside villa full of rollicking young people, Portia experiences at least temporary relief from the misery Eddie seems determined to bring her.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 368 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 14/05/1998
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780099276456