SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2016
Author: Hannah Rothschild
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
WINNER OF THE BOLLINGER EVERYMAN WODEHOUSE PRIZE FOR COMIC FICTION 2016 SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2016 A BBC Radio 2 Book Club pick When lovelorn Annie McDee stumbles across a dirty painting in a junk shop while looking for a present for an unsuitable man, she has no idea what she has discovered. Soon she finds herself drawn unwillingly into the tumultuous London art world, populated by exiled Russian oligarchs, avaricious Sheikas, desperate auctioneers and unscrupulous dealers, all scheming to get their hands on her painting - a lost eighteenth-century masterpiece called 'The Improbability of Love'. Delving into the painting's past, Annie will uncover not just an illustrious list of former owners, but some of the darkest secrets of European history – and in doing so she might just learn to open up to the possibility of falling in love again.
The seat of the Trelawney family for over 700 years, Trelawney Castle was once the jewel of the Cornish coast. Each successive Earl spent with abandon, turning the house and grounds into a sprawling, extravagant palimpsest of wings, turrets and follies. But as the centuries passed the Earls of Trelawney, their ambition dulled by generations of pampered living, failed to develop other skills. Now in 2008 the house - its paintings and furniture sold off to pay death duties, its grounds diminished, the gardens choked with weeds - has begun to resemble its owners: faded, crumbling, and out-of-date.Jane, the put-upon wife of the current Earl, Kitto, scraping a life for her children and in-laws in a few draughty rooms of the big house, is trapped by Trelawney Castle; while Blaze, Kitto's sister, has made a killing in the City - and a complete turkey of her personal life. Long-estranged, the two women are brought back together when a letter arrives; and soon after it, an unwelcome young guest. Grudgingly reunited, Blaze and Jane must band together to take charge of their new charge - and save the house of Trelawney.With formidable sharpness, delicious irreverence and a very wicked wit, House of Trelawney is a glorious send-up of recession Britain and its carnival of bastard bankers and down-at-heel toffs. An eccentric gem of a satire, and an unexpected romance, it asks how we are connected, what we owe to one another, and how to carry on existing in a world which has outgrown us.