When, on the night of their wedding, Ned asks his new wife Rose to promise that she will never leave him, Rose is quick to give her aristocratic husband her word: keeping it, however, proves harder.
For even on the day when she has promised to forsake all others, Rose's heart is with the true love of her life, Mylo, the penniless but passionate Frenchman who, within five minutes of their meeting declared his love and asked her to marry him.
Whilst Rose remains true to her promise never to leave Ned, not even the war, social conventions, nor the prying of her overly inquisitive and cheerfully immoral neighbours, can stop her and Mylo from meeting and loving one another.
From a witty septuagenarian novelist of British upper-middle-class life (Harnessing Peacocks, The Camomile Lawn) comes this amusing story of a widow remembering her boring marriage and the man she really loved. The heroine is newly widowed Rose Peel who, at a tennis party when she was 18, fell for Mylo Cooper, tutor of French to her host's sons. We also meet the twins Emily and Nicholas Thornby who wander incestuously, cadging from their friends and returning material favors with sexual ones. Rose knows that her husband Ned had a lifelong affair with Emily and fathered her child, but she doesn't care: her body and spirit are Mylo's. Throughout World War II they meet and make love, sometimes in Rose's own house while Ned is away on military duty. This adds both to the licentiousness and the charm; it is a measure of the author's skill that the bond between Rose and Mylo is made not only believable but innocent. That happiness is in store for these two is inevitable. The novel was a finalist for a new British literary award, the Sunday Express Book of the Year.