Rebecca West - The Birds Fall Down - Little, Brown Book Group

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Books in this series

The Birds Fall Down

By Rebecca West

  • Paperback
  • £9.99

One afternoon, in an early summer of this century, eighteen-year-old Laura Rowan sits on the garden steps of her house embroidering a handkerchief. She overhears a conversation between her father, an English Member of Parliament, and her mother, Tania, the daughter of an exiled Russian royalist. Tania's decision to take Laura to Paris to visit her grandfather, Count Nikilai Diakonov, means that Laura will unwittingly become a witness to the momentous events leading up to the Russian Revolution...Through a vivid canvas layered with intrigue, conspiracy and murder, Rebecca West has created a story that is at once a family saga, a political thriller, a philosophical drama and an historical novel.

Biographical Notes

Rebecca West was born in London in 1892. She was educated in Edinburgh and began to appear in print as a journalist in London as early as 1911. She was created a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1959 and died in March 1983.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780860686620
  • Publication date: 10 Nov 1986
  • Page count: 448
  • Imprint: Virago
Top-drawer spies...A gripping study of betrayal and double-agents set among aristocratic Tsarist exiles. — Sun
Abacus

Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky

Patrick Hamilton
Authors:
Patrick Hamilton
Virago

Marling Hall

Angela Thirkell
Authors:
Angela Thirkell

'You read her, laughing, and want to do your best to protect her characters from any reality but their own' New York TimesMr Marling, of Marling Hall, has begun to accept - albeit reluctantly - that he will probably never be able to pass his wonderful old estate on to his children. The Second World War is bringing an end to so many things, but the Marlings carry on as best they can in the face of rationing and a shortage of domestic help. Into their world arrive Geoffrey Harvey and his sister Frances, who have been bombed out of their London home. Bohemian and sophisticated, they rent a local house, and it is not long before they begin to have an effect on their neighbours. Geoffrey begins to court Lettice, the Marlings' widowed daughter, but he finds he has rivals for her affections in dashing David Leslie and Captain Barclay. Observing everything and quietly keeping events on an even keel is the Marlings' sage old governess, Miss Bunting.'The novels are a delight, with touches of E. F. Benson, E. M. Delafield and P. G. Wodehouse' Independent on Sunday

Virago

The Headmistress

Angela Thirkell
Authors:
Angela Thirkell
Virago

Miss Bunting

Angela Thirkell
Authors:
Angela Thirkell
Abacus

Hangover Square

Patrick Hamilton
Authors:
Patrick Hamilton
Virago

People Who Knock on the Door

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

People Who Knock on the Door, is a tale about blind faith and the slippery notion of justice that lies beneath the peculiarly American veneer of righteousness.'A border zone of the macabre, the disturbing, the not quite accidental . . . Highsmith achieves the effect of the occult without any resources to supernatural machinery' New York Times Book ReviewIn a pitiless story of prying suburban self-righteousness, Patricia Highsmith introduces the Alderman family as they descend into moral crisis. When small-town insurance salesman Richard Alderman becomes a born-again Christian, his once tight-knit family quickly begins to rip apart at the seams. He and his youngest son, Robbie, embrace their newfound faith, while his elder son Arthur rejects it. Caught in the middle of the ensuing web of lies, his wife, Lois, tries to keep the family together, but when the church elders start to interfere in Arthur's love life, events spiral toward violence. In this masterful late work, Highsmith weaves a powerful tale about blind faith and the peculiar ideas of justice that lie underneath the veneer of respectability.

Virago

Before Lunch

Angela Thirkell
Authors:
Angela Thirkell

Jack Middleton likes to imagine himself a country squire. At weekends he retires to Laverings Estate with his wife, Catherine. He may be pompous, and they may seem ill-matched, but the couple are devoted to each other.When Jack's widowed sister, Lilian, and her two stepchildren arrive to spend the summer in the neighbouring house, he dreads the intrusion to his idyll: Daphne, capable and ambitious, is too lively for his taste, whereas her brother Denis, a composer, he finds a crashing bore. But their wit and good sense charm the residents of Barchester, and they win over Lord Bond with an impromptu Gilbert and Sullivan evening. Even Jack begins to thaw.Before long, Daphne and Lord Bond's son become attracted to each other, but each believes the other is attached to someone else. Can disaster be averted before she marries the wrong man? First published in 1939, Before Lunch is a sparkling comedy from Angela Thirkell's much-loved classic series.

Virago

Northbridge Rectory

Angela Thirkell
Authors:
Angela Thirkell
Virago

Small g: A Summer Idyll

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith
Virago

The Fox at the Manger

P. L. Travers
Authors:
P. L. Travers

For the first time since the war, the Christmas peal is ringing at St Paul's Cathedral. There is joy. There is new hope. It is Christmas Eve, the carol service has ended, and a woman with three small boys leaves the cathedral, the children swooping like pigeons. 'Why weren't there any wild animals at the crib? Haven't they got something to give?' asked one of the children.And I heard myself say, 'Yes, they have.'Was it true, what I told them? Did I dream it? Where it came from I do not know but I seemed to remember every word, just as if I had heard it . . .Outside the cathedral, the children are told the nativity story from a unique perspective: that of a fox. Despite the scorn of the other animals, he enters the stable to offer the child a gift that only he can give.

Virago

The Mask of Apollo

Mary Renault
Authors:
Mary Renault
Virago

The Praise Singer

Mary Renault
Authors:
Mary Renault

'Mary Renault's portraits of the ancient world are fierce, complex and eloquent, infused at every turn with her life-long passion for the Classics. Her characters live vividly both in their own time, and in ours' MADELINE MILLERMary Renault is a shining light to both historical novelists and their readers. She does not pretend the past is like the present, or that the people of ancient Greece were just like us. She shows us their strangeness; discerning, sure-footed, challenging our values, piquing our curiosity, she leads us through an alien landscape that moves and delights us' HILARY MANTELIn the story of the great lyric poet Simonides, Mary Renault brings alive a time in Greece when tyrants kept an unsteady rule and poetry, music, and royal patronage combined to produce a flowering of the arts. Born into a stern farming family on the island of Keos, Simonides escapes his harsh childhood through a lucky apprenticeship with a renowned Ionian singer. As they travel through 5th century B.C. Greece, Simonides learns not only how to play the kithara and compose poetry, but also how to navigate the shifting alliances surrounding his rich patrons. He is witness to the Persian invasion of Ionia, to the decadent reign of the Samian pirate king Polykrates, and to the fall of the Pisistratids in the Athenian court. Along the way, he encounters artists, statesmen, athletes, thinkers, and lovers, including the likes of Pythagoras and Aischylos. Using the singer's unique perspective, Renault combines her vibrant imagination and her formidable knowledge of history to establish a sweeping, resilient vision of a golden century.'There's much to say about her interweaving of myth and history and, just as interestingly, there's much to wonder at in the way she fills in the large dark spaces where we know next to nothing about the times she describes . . . an important and wonderful writer . . . she set a course into serious-minded, psychologically intense historical fiction that today seems more important than ever' - Sam Jordison, Guardian

Virago

The Last of the Wine

Mary Renault
Authors:
Mary Renault
Virago

The Bull from the Sea

Mary Renault
Authors:
Mary Renault
Virago

The King Must Die

Mary Renault
Authors:
Mary Renault

This brilliant retelling of the story of Theseus, the king of Athens, brings Greek mythology vividly to life and remains 'one of the truly fine historical novels of modern times' (The New York Times)Theseus is the grandson of the King of Troizen, but his paternity is shrouded in mystery - can he really be the son of the god Poseidon? When he discovers his father's sword beneath a rock, his mother must reveal his true identity: Theseus is the son of Aegeus, King of Athens, and is his only heir. So begins Theseus's perilous journey to his father's palace to claim his birthright, escaping bandits and ritual king sacrifice in Eleusis, to slaying the Minotaur in Crete. Renault reimagines the Theseus myth, creating an original, exciting story.'Mary Renault's portraits of the ancient world are fierce, complex and eloquent, infused at every turn with her life-long passion for the Classics. Her characters live vividly both in their own time, and in ours' (Madeline Miller, bestselling author of Circe)'Mary Renault is a shining light to both historical novelists and their readers' (Hilary Mantel, bestselling author of Wolf Hall)

Virago

Little Tales of Misogyny

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith
Virago

Aunt Sass

P. L. Travers, Gillian Tyler
Contributors:
P. L. Travers, Gillian Tyler
Virago

Poor Cow

Nell Dunn
Authors:
Nell Dunn
Virago

Up The Junction

Nell Dunn
Authors:
Nell Dunn
Sphere

Who Needs Mr Darcy?

Jean Burnett
Authors:
Jean Burnett

Mr Wickham turned out to be a disappointing husband in many ways, the most notable being his early demise on the battlefields of Waterloo. And so Lydia Wickham, nee Bennet, still not twenty and ever-full of an enterprising spirit, must make her fortune independently. A lesser woman, without Lydia's natural ability to flirt uproariously on the dancefloor and cheat seamlessly at the card table, would swoon in the wake of a dashing highwayman, a corrupt banker and even an amorous Royal or two. But on the hunt for a marriage that will make her rich, there's nothing that Lydia won't turn her hand to . . .Taking in London, Paris and Brighton, Who Needs Mr Darcy? details the charming, lively and somewhat dastardly further exploits of the youngest Bennet sister. Pride and Prejudice this isn't and Mr Darcy certainly won't be rescuing her this time.