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It is shortly before Christmas in the year 1879, the forty-second year of Queen Victoria's reign, when the curtain rises on the Garden family: on Mr Garden, a clergyman of many denominations, about to lose his faith for the umpteenth time, on his selfless, devoted wife - and on their six children, about to be launched on the adult world. There is Victoria, a Pre-Raphaelite beauty intent on marriage; Maurice, shaking his fist at the injustices of the world; Stanley, a follower of Ruskin ad Morris, doing good as radical fashion dictates; Irving, a lusty young capitalist, and Una, born for happy marriage and maternity. All are watched from the sidelines by their sister Rome. Detached, intelligent, urbane, she observes three generations of her family strut and fret their hour upon the stage. To her their sound and fury signify nothing - but to us the memory of Rome's one brief love affair strikes the final note of truth, defiantly affirming that it is better to have loved and lost ...
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Rose Macaulay was born in Cambridge 1881and educated at Oxford. As a young woman she went bathing by moonlight with Rupert Brooke, and lived long enough to protest against the invasion of Korea. She was created a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1958, but seven months later, having started a new novel, she suffered a heart attact and died at her home.
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