BookSeriesList
Virago

Angel

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor

Writing stories that are extravagant and fanciful, fifteen-year old Angel retreats to a world of romance, escaping the drabness of provincial life. She knows she is different, that she is destined to become a feted authoress, owner of great riches and of Paradise House . . .After reading The Lady Irania, publishers Brace and Gilchrist are certain the novel will be a success, in spite of - and perhaps because of - its overblown style. But they are curious as to who could have written such a book: 'Some old lady, romanticising behind lace-curtains' . . . 'Angelica Deverell is too good a name to be true . . . she might be an old man. It would be an amusing variation. You are expecting to meet Mary Anne Evans and in Walks George Eliot twirling his moustache.' So nothing can prepare them for the pale young woman who sits before them, with not a seed of irony or a grain of humour in her soul.

Virago

Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor

Shortlisted for the Booker PrizeOn a rainy Sunday afternoon, Mrs Palfrey, recently widowed, arrives at the Claremont Hotel where she will spend her remaining days. Her fellow residents are a mixed bunch - magnificently flawed and eccentric - living off crumbs of affection and an obsessive interest in the relentless round of hotel meals. Together, upper lips stiffened, they fight off their twin enemies: boredom and the Grim Reaper. And then one day, Mrs Palfrey encounters the hadsome young writer Ludo, and an unlikely friendship is formed . . .

Virago

In A Summer Season

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor

In a Summer Season is one of Elizabeth Taylor's finest novels in which, in a moving and powerful climax, she reveals love to be the thing it is: beautiful, often funny, and sometimes tragic.'You taste of rain', he said, kissing her. 'People say I married her for her money', he thought contentedly, and for the moment was full of the self-respect that loving her had given him.Kate Heron is a wealthy, charming widow who marries, much to the disapproval of friends and neighbours, a man ten years her junior: the attractive, feckless Dermot. Then comes the return of Kate's old friend Charles - intelligent, kind and now widowed, with his beautiful young daughter. Kate watches happily as their two families are drawn together, finding his presence reassuringly familiar, but slowly she becomes aware of subtle undercurrents that begin to disturb the calm surface of their friendship. Before long, even she cannot ignore the gathering storm . . .

Virago

At Mrs Lippincote's

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor

Shortlisted for the Booker Prize.Mrs Lippincote's house, with its mahogany furniture and yellowing photographs, stands as a reminder of all the certainties that have vanished with the advent of war. Temporarily, this is home for Julia, who has joined her husband Roddy at the behest of the RAF. Although she can accept the pomposities of service life, Julia's honesty and sense of humour prevent her from taking her role as seriously as her husband, that leader of men, might wish; for Roddy, merely love cannot suffice - he needs homage as well as admiration. And Julia, while she may be a most unsatisfactory officer's wife, is certainly no hypocrite.

Virago

A View Of The Harbour

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor

'Jane Austen, Elizabeth Taylor, Barbara Pym, Elizabeth Bowen - soul-sisters all' Anne TylerIn the faded coastal village of Newby, everyone looks out for - and in on - each other, and beneath the deceptively sleepy exterior, passions run high. Beautiful divorcee Tory is painfully involved with her neighbour, Robert, while his wife Beth, Tory's best friend, is consumed by the worlds she creates in her novels, oblivious to the relationship developing next door. Their daughter Prudence is aware, however, and is appalled by the treachery she observes. Mrs Bracey, an invalid whose grasp on life is slipping, forever peers from her window, constantly prodding her daughters for news of the outside world. And Lily Wilson, a lonely young widow, is frightened of her own home. Into their lives steps Bertram, a retired naval officer with the unfortunate capacity to inflict lasting damage while trying to do good.

Virago

A Game Of Hide And Seek

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor

'Elizabeth Taylor is finally being recognised as an important British author: an author of great subtlety, great compassion and great depth. As a reader, I have found huge pleasure in returning to Taylor's novels and short stories many times over. As a writer I've returned to her too - in awe of her achievements, and trying to work out how she does it' Sarah WatersAn intelligent, haunting love story, with echoes of Brief Encounter, by one of the best British writers of the 20th century.During summer games of hide and seek Harriet falls in love with Vesey and his elusive, teasing ways. When he goes to Oxford she cherishes his photograph and waits for the letter that never comes. Years pass, and Harriet stifles her imaginings; with a husband and daughter, she excels at respectability. But then Vesey reappears and her marriage seems to melt away. Harriet is older, it is much too late, but she is still in love with him.

Virago

A Wreath Of Roses

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor's darkest novel . . . She writes with a sensuous richness of language that draws the reader down the most shadowy paths . . . Extremely beguiling. Taylor makes the living moment present, touchable, disturbing, enchanting - Helen DunmoreSpending the holiday with friends, as she has for many years, Camilla finds that their private absorptions - Frances with her painting and Liz with her baby - seem to exclude her from the gossipy intimacies of previous summers. Anxious that she will remain encased in her solitary life as a school secretary, and perhaps to spite of her friends, Camilla steps into an unlikely liaison with Richard Elton, a handsome, assured - and dangerous - liar.Elizabeth Taylor's darkest novel is a skillful exploration of the danger we'll go to to avoid loneliness. Taylor is increasingly recognised as one of the best writers of the twentieth century, and this little-known novel displays her range admirably.

Virago

Blaming

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor

A finely nuanced exploration of responsibility, snobbery and culture clash from one of the twentieth centrury's finest novelists.'How deeply I envy any reader coming to her for the first time!' Elizabeth Jane HowardWhen Amy's husband dies on holiday in Istanbul, she is supported by the kindly but rather slovenly Martha, a young American novelist who lives in London. Upon their return to England, Amy is ungratefully reluctant to maintain their friendship, but the skeins of their existence seem inextricably linked as grief gives way to resilience and again to tragedy. Reversals of fortune and a compelling cast of characters, including Ernie, ex-sailor turned housekeeper, and Amy's wonderfully precocious granddaughters, add spice to a novel that delights even as it unveils the most uncomfortable human emotions.

Virago

The Scapegoat

Daphne Du Maurier
Authors:
Daphne Du Maurier

'Someone jolted my elbow as I drank and said, "Je vous demande pardon," and as I moved to give him space he turned and stared at me and I at him, and I realised, with a strange sense of shock and fear and nausea all combined, that his face and voice were known to me too well.I was looking at myself.'By chance, two men - one English, the other French - meet in a provincial railway station. Their resemblance is uncanny, and they spend the next few hours talking and drinking - until at last John, the Englishman, falls into a drunken stupor. It's to be his last carefree moment, for when he wakes, his French companion has stolen his identity and disappeared. So John steps into the Frenchman's shoes, and faces a variety of perplexing roles - as owner of a chateau, director of a failing business, head of a fractious family, and master of nothing.

Virago

The Birds And Other Stories

Daphne Du Maurier
Authors:
Daphne Du Maurier

How long he fought with them in the darkness he could not tell, but at last the beating of the wings about him lessened and then withdrew . . . 'A classic of alienation and horror, 'The Birds' was immortalised by Hitchcock in his celebrated film. The five other chilling stories in this collection echo a sense of dislocation and mock man's sense of dominance over the natural world. The mountain paradise of 'Monte Verità' promises immortality, but at a terrible price; a neglected wife haunts her husband in the form of an apple tree; a professional photographer steps out from behind the camera and into his subject's life; a date with a cinema usherette leads to a walk in the cemetery; and a jealous father finds a remedy when three's a crowd . . .

Virago

My Cousin Rachel

Daphne Du Maurier
Authors:
Daphne Du Maurier

Orphaned at an early age, Philip Ashley is raised by his benevolent cousin, Ambrose. Resolutely single, Ambrose delights in making Philip his heir, knowing he will treasure his beautiful Cornish estate. But Philip's world is shattered when Ambrose sets off on a trip to Florence. There he falls in love and marries - and then dies suddenly in suspicious circumstances. Before long, the new widow - Philip's cousin Rachel - arrives in England. Despite himself, Philip is drawn to this beautiful, mysterious woman. But could she have masterminded Ambrose's death?

Virago

Jamaica Inn

Daphne Du Maurier
Authors:
Daphne Du Maurier

After the death of her mother, Mary Yellan crosses the windswept Cornish moors to Jamaica Inn, the home of her Aunt Patience. There she finds Patience a changed woman, downtrodden by her domineering, vicious husband Joss Merlyn. The inn is a front for a lawless gang of criminals, and Mary is unwillingly dragged into their dangerous world of smuggling and murder. Before long she will be forced to cross her own moral line to save herself.

Virago

Rebecca

Daphne Du Maurier
Authors:
Daphne Du Maurier

'Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .'Working as a lady's companion, our heroine's outlook is bleak until, on a trip to the south of France, she meets a handsome widower whose proposal takes her by surprise. She accepts but, whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is for ever kept alive by the forbidding housekeeper Mrs Danvers . . . An international bestseller that has never gone out of print, Rebecca is the haunting story of a young woman consumed by love and the struggle to find her identity.

Virago

Writers as Readers

Various
Authors:
Various

Virago

The World My Wilderness

Rose Macaulay
Authors:
Rose Macaulay

It is 1946 and the people of France and England are facing the aftermath of the War. Sent by her beautiful, indolent mother to England, Barbary Deniston is thrown into the care of her distinguished father and conventional stepmother. Barbary has spent her childhood years in the sunshine of Provence. During the War, she ran wild with the Maquis, experiencing collaboration, betrayal and resistance. In peacetime the young woman has been taken away from all she knows and placed into the drab austerity of postwar London life. Confused and unhappy, she discovers the flowering bomb craters around St Paul's Cathedral. Here, in the bombed heart of London, with the outcasts living on the edge of society, she finds an echo of the wilderness of Provence and is forced to confront the wilderness within herself.

Virago

Crewe Train

Rose Macaulay
Authors:
Rose Macaulay

Denham Dobie has been brought up in Andorra by her father, a retired clergyman. On his death, she is snatched from this reclusive life and thrown into the social whirl of London by her sophisticated relatives. Denham, however, provides a candid response to the niceties of 'civilised' behaviour. CREWE TRAIN is one of Macaulay's wittiest satires. The reactions of Denham to the manners and modes of the highbrow circle in which she finds herself provide a devastating - and very funny - social commentary as well as a moving story.This bitingly funny, elegantly written comedy of manners is as absorbing and entertaining today as on the book's first publication in 1967.

Virago

The Parasites

Daphne Du Maurier
Authors:
Daphne Du Maurier

'When people play the game: Name three or four persons whom you would choose to have with you on a desert island -- they never choose the Delaneys. They don't even choose us one by one as individuals. We have earned, not always fairly we consider, the reputation of being difficult guests . . .'Maria, Niall and Celia have grown up in the shadow of their famous parents - their father, a flamboyant singer and their mother, a talented dancer. Now pursuing their own creative dreams, all three siblings feel an undeniable bond, but it is Maria and Niall who share the secret of their parents' pasts. Alternately comic and poignant, The Parasites is based on the artistic milieu its author knew best, and draws the reader effortlessly into that magical world.

Virago

The Flight Of The Falcon

Daphne Du Maurier
Authors:
Daphne Du Maurier

As a young guide for Sunshine Tours, Armino Fabbio leads a pleasant, if humdrum life -- until he becomes circumstantially involved in the murder of an old peasant woman in Rome. The woman, he gradually comes to realise, was his family's beloved servant many years ago, in his native town of Ruffano. He returns to his birthplace, and once there, finds it is haunted by the phantom of his brother, Aldo, shot down in flames in '43.Over five hundred years before, the sinister Duke Claudio, known as The Falcon, lived his twisted, brutal life, preying on the people of Ruffano. But now it is the twentieth century, and the town seems to have forgotten its violent history. But have things really changed? The parallels between the past and present become ever more evident.

Virago

Heartburn

Nora Ephron
Authors:
Nora Ephron

Seven months into her pregnancy, Rachel discovers that her husband is in love with another woman. The fact that this woman has a 'neck as long as an arm and a nose as long as a thumb' is no consolation. Food sometimes is, though, since Rachel is a cookery writer, and between trying to win Mark back and wishing him dead, she offers us some of her favourite recipes. HEARTBURN is a roller coaster of love, betrayal, loss and - most satisfyingly - revenge.This is Nora Ephron's roman a clef: 'I always thought during the pain of the marriage that one day it would make a funny book,' she once said - And it is!Books included in the VMC 40th anniversary series include: Frost in May by Antonia White; The Collected Stories of Grace Paley; Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault; The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter; The Weather in the Streets by Rosamond Lehmann; Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith; The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West; Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; Heartburn by Nora Ephron; The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy; Memento Mori by Muriel Spark; A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor; and Faces in the Water by Janet Frame

Virago

The Thorn Birds

Colleen McCullough
Authors:
Colleen McCullough

Sometimes when he didn't know he was being watched Meggie would look at him and try desperately to imprint his face upon her brain's core . . . And he would turn to find her watching him, a look in his eyes of haunted grief, a doomed look. She understood the implicit message, or thought she did; he must go, back to the Church and his duties. Never again with the same spirit, perhaps, but more able to serve. For only those who have slipped and fallen know the vicissitudes of the way . . .