Flora Trevelyan is a ten-year-old misfit, despised by her selfish and indolent parents, and left to wander the streets of a small French town whilst her parents prepare to depart for life in colonial India. There she befriends the locals, acquires an extensive vocabulary of French foul language and encounters the privileged lifestyle of the elegant, middle-class British families holidaying in 1920s France.
Introduced for the first time to kindly, civilised and, above all, caring people Flora falls helplessly and hopelessly in love with not one but three young men.
Over the next forty years Flora will grow from an awkward schoolgirl into a stunning beauty and explore, consummate and finally resolve each of these affairs.
Wesley's ( Not That Sort of Girl ; Second Fiddle ) most engaging and memorable novel so far, this finely nuanced story features an enchanting heroine, the social settings at which the British author excels and her usual keen observation of character. We first meet 10-year-old Flora Trevelyan in the Brittany resort town of Dinard in 1926. Shockingly neglected by her abysmally selfish parents, she is taken up by a group of British and Dutch vacationers, one of whom saves her from suicide when her parents sail for India and leave her on her own. Though resilient and perforce independent, Flora is naive and sexually innocent, but she knows she has fallen in love with all three of the adolescent males who have protected her. Five years later, visiting the family of one of the young men at its country home, Flora realizes that she is ``not the sort of girl'' who will be allowed to marry into the UC milieu to which she now ardently aspires. Wesley's take on the proper but callous behavior of the British upper classes is both savagely acute and quietly funny. The arch and somewhat brittle quality of her previous works is in little evidence; in its place is a poignancy that softens her social comedy into a deeper, more affecting genre. One hopes that this book will establish Wesley's reputation with discriminating readers here.