From the introduction by Rosamunde Pilcher:
"A Price for Everything is linked, from start to finish, by Mary Sheepshanks' humor and a rare sense of the ridiculous which bubble up at the least likely moments. I read the book at a single sitting and felt bereft when I finally closed the cover onto the last page."
"The house itself seemed to possess her. It was a love affair, and like many love affairs, it was inconvenient."
Nestled cozily in the English countryside stands a house called Duntan-grand, proud, beautiful to look at, yet slowly falling apart and riddled with problems. How can Sonia, Lady Duntan so fiercely love such a monster of a house, almost as much as she loves her four children, perhaps more than she loves her husband, whose family has lived at Duntan for over 200 years?
For Sonia, restoring Duntan to its former glory has become synonymous with repairing her own sense of self, and refurbishing the house means working closely with Simon Hadleigh, the charming director of the Heritage at Risk Association. But as her marriage seems to be crumbling faster than the house itself; her children growing up quickly; her painting career taking off and Simon awakening in her a long, dormant passion, Sonia realizes that everything has its price...
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Born and brought up at Eton where her father was a housemaster, Mary Sheepshanks began writing as a child and published her first poem when she was seventeen years of age. Not unlike her heroine, she and her husband took over the family estate in Yorkshire. This is her first novel.
An amusing though featherweight romp through the English countryside, this time pitting the love for husband against love for manor house, with predictable results. Young and lovely Sonia, the Lady Duntan, is an enviable superwoman--she has four energetic children, a houseful of dogs, a career as an artist, the lovable Minnie, who tends to the children and meals, and, finally, the breathtaking ancestral home of her husband. And, in truth, much of the guilty delight in this debut novel comes from the vicarious thrill delivered by Sheepshanks's description of such an idyllic life. There's a serpent in this Eden, however, in the form of husband Archie. Though not a bad chap, Archie refuses to support Sonia's dreams of restoring the old house, which is literally crumbling down around the family and is too costly to maintain. Archie's stubbornness, coupled with his not-so-clandestine affair with torrid neighbor Rosie, has Sonia ready to wage war. Thrown into the battle is Archie's gold-digging, globe-trotting mother, who has decided to claim the house as a refuge for her newest interest, the cult-like Brotherhood of Love. Sonia's last hope is the Heritage at Risk Foundation, an organization that may be willing to pay for repairs if the house is opened to the public. Woven through Sheepshanks's leisurely descriptions of country life from village vicar to arrangements for the shooting season, is the record of Sonia's burgeoning romance with the Foundation's director. The story ends with a hammer-and- nails description of the Duntan house restoration, along with the happy voices of children in the background. An enjoyably insubstantial look at the British upper crust and its desperate attempts to keep its houses together, both literally and figuratively. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description ARROW BOOKS LTD, 1995. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110099467917