Emmanuel is a famous playwright. Lillian is his sickly and embittered wife. They have never fully buried the memory of their dead daughter, Sarah. Rich but discontented, they flit from capital to capital in the company of their hero -worshipping young manager-nomads on the international airlines. Then Alberta, straight from an English vicarage and the pages of Jane Austen, is appointed as Emmannuel's secretary. This prim and utterly delightful stomach. One by one the leopards change their spots. 'The characterisation is the triumph of this book. Miss Howard has a exquisite sense of place. This is not a 'woman's book'; it belongs to all of us. Happy us.' John Davenport, Observer

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