This story of the eccentric British Radlett family is narrated by niece Fanny, who is intimate enough to know all of their secrets, but just distant enough for some objectivity. The Radletts are among the landed aristocracy and their ancestral manor in the Cotswolds is home to blustering Uncle Matthew, dippy Aunt Sadie, a few rebellious boys and several undereducated but very "cultured" girls. The story focuses on Linda, the passionate, spontaneous middle daughter of the clan, whose romantic ideals of true love are dismantled once she experiences a bit of real life.
While very young, Linda marries a wealthy and handsome but very dull banker despite (or perhaps partially because of) strong opposition from her family. Nine years later, she leaves her husband for a communist scholar, who is usually too absorbed in his work to notice her at all. Fleeing from him, Linda finds herself alone and penniless in Paris, where she is rescued by a notorious French duke who makes Linda his mistress and becomes the great love of her life. When World War II erupts and the duke is called upon to fight with his countrymen, Linda's life of romance and luxury is suddenly changed.
This report prepared by Jacqueline West