Fay Weldon's new novel takes us inside the lives of an aristocratic household in the last three months of the nineteenth century. It's a time of riot and confusion, social upheaval, war abroad and shortage of money. Tea gowns are still laced with diamonds; there are still nine courses at dinner, but bankruptcy looms for the Dilbernes. Whilst the Earl, gambler and man about town, must seek a new post in government; his wife Lady Isobel's solution is to marry off their son Arthur to a wealthy heiress, and without delay. But how? It's the end of the season, and choices are few. There's Minnie O'Brien from Chigaco - rich enough, but daughter of a stockyard baron, and with a vulgar mother and dubious past. Hardly suitable ...!
Fay Weldon tells this tale of restraint and desire, manners and morals with wit and sympathy - if no small measure of mischief - as young Minnie and Arthur, thrown together by their parents, strive to determine their own destiny.