Ellen has been living on her own in a picturesque if damp cottage in Cheshire since her husband abandoned her to go and live with another woman in Provence. Having married once for love she is now determined that the second time around it will be for money. Close at hand is Duncan, her not unattractive, and enticingly single, divorce lawyer...But ...
Ellen has been living on her own in a picturesque if damp cottage in Cheshire since her husband abandoned her to go and live with another woman in Provence. Having married once for love she is now determined that the second time around it will be for money. Close at hand is Duncan, her not unattractive, and enticingly single, divorce lawyer...But then two new people enter her life: Jo-Jo, a homeless girl several months pregnant; and Matthew, an artist who paints murals in country houses and who, on his first meeting with Ellen, openly criticises her for being mercenary and devious. But, as hostility gives way to friendship, Ellen realises that she has wavered off course from her original plan and she has to remind herself very strongly indeed that Duncan is the man for her ...
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Publishers Weekly, 1998-06-22 Three engaging female protagonists at turning points in their lives animate James's (A Breath of Fresh Air) deftly plotted third novel. Events in this airy comedy of manners unroll over a period of six months in a small town in Cheshire, in northwest England. Ellen Jacobs, recently divorced from the husband who abandoned her to run off to the South of France with a younger woman, has been displaced from her comfortable home and upper-middle-class life. Living in a modestly refurbished cottage, she has started a business arranging dried flowers. Sustained by her older, rather eccentric friend Hermione, Ellen is determined not to marry for love again. Instead, she entertains hopes of a secure but dull second marriage to Duncan Carter, her prosperous divorce attorney. Enter young, pregnant and homeless Jo-Jo, who literally crosses Ellen's path as she begs for a handout on a Crantsford street. With little to spare for themselves, Ellen and Hermione take pity on the runaway, offering her food and shelter. Jo-Jo turns out to be domesticated and helpful and to have plenty of common sense; in fact, she becomes the catalyst who helps Ellen to decide between stolid Duncan and Hermione's attractive, artistic godson. Various complications and surprises keep the plot moving briskly. (July)
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