'We were seventeen when our parents died...Alexander and I did not realise at first that we were destitute. It was Sir Charles Stowell, a friend of my father's who finally told us the my father's forutnes and estates, including even the town house in London where we had lived all our lives with our mother, had reverted to my father's wife in Manchester. My father had been mcuh too gay and carefree to bother to make a will to provide for his mistress and the tiwns she had borne him...' When her parents die in a road accident, Marianne, illegitimate daughter of a French emigree and an English gentleman, loses her home and all her wordly goods. She faces life as a governess until she meets Axel Branson, a man who must marry within the year in order to inherit his father's wealth. Marianne grabs at the chance of a respectable marriage. A remote house in the Kent Marshes is now her home. But distrust of her husband and fear of the house seem to roll in as steadily as the sea mist...
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Susan Howatch was born in Surrey in 1940. After taking a degree in law she emigrated to America where she married, had a daughter and embarked on a career as a writer. She left in 1976 and lived in the Republic of Ireland for four years before returning to England. She lived in Salisbury - inspiration for the very successful Starbridge sequence and now lives in London.
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