Publishing year: 2000
This is the first book of a trilogy about a family, the Lyttons.
The main character is Lady Celia, who marries Oliver Lytton, the owner of a publishing house. Lady Celia comes from an upper-class family, and when she claims she’s in love with Oliver and want to marry him, her parents forbid it since they think Oliver is below her standard. Celia is the kind of woman who nothing stops her from doing what she wants. So she gets pregnant, even deceiving Oliver. This is not the first obstacle Celia finds in her life. Once he’s married to Oliver and gives birth to baby Giles, she finds domestic life bores her, but finds her husband’s job fascinating. So she baggers her husband to let her work at the publishing house, and even though Oliver doesn’t allow it at first, her tenacity pays off, and thanks to the support of her sister-in-law LM (little Margaret) she manages to get herself a position in the company. I really like Celia, and she’s also a generous woman. She joins a group of women who try to help those women living in poverty by writing reports, and that way Celia meets Sylvia, who is expecting her seventh child under very dire circumstances. Celia wants to help Sylvia, but the association forbids her to give Sylvia anything, but she’s adamant to help her new friend.
Apart from Celia, there’s another character who is fascinating. Her sister-in-law LM is a woman ahead of her time. She and her brother own the publishing house, and she works there alongside all the men. Her views of romance and love are very advanced as well. She experiments with sex at a young age, and since then she’s had several dalliances, but the end of those romances left her lonely and humiliated. Now she starts a relationship with Jago, a widower, and on the first night they meet, they sleep together. Their relationship is private, and even though it’s been going on for three years, nobody knows about it. I think LM would like something more from Jago, and even though she tells herself she’s happy as they are, I think there’s a longing inside her she doesn’t want to acknowledge.
Interesting characters and plot. I’m sure I’m going to enjoy this trilogy!