Margaret Phillips, Archdeacon of Saxwell, is in the prime of her life. Her position in the church is testament to her exceptional ability, commitment and drive, as she effortlessly combines her clerical duties with a rock-solid marriage to the charming and devoted Hal. The couple are to discover, however that their smug stability is what makes them vulnerable.
For the sake of their Down's syndrome daughter, Daisy, Gervase Finch moves with his fiercely protective wife into the parsonage in the nearby village of Branlingham, before assuming the post of vicar. Although they love their spouses, Rosemary Finch and Hal Phillips are drawn together, both disturbed by ideals of womanhood: Rosemary competing with the ghost of Gervase's first wife, Hal married to a paragon.
Valerie Marler, a best-selling novelist; has also identified Hal as the object of her unruly passion. Ever the author, Valerie strives to rewrite her past failures by pursuing her fictional ideal, but when Hal refuses to play his part in her love story, her revenge threatens to descend into tragedy.
Kate Charles has deftly woven the threads of many contemporary obsessions into a chillingly credible tale of passion and suspense.
"Thoroughly entertaining" (The Times)
"Compulsive reading" (Birmingham Post)
"A blood-stained version of the world of Barbara Pym" (The Guardian)