Looking back she could not remember when she had settled down to mere existence, no longer expecting any changes in the pattern-let alone something as extraordinary as Mrs. Gamalion's legacy.
Charlotte Moley, long brow-beaten by her rather stodgy grown daughter Alison and very traditional mother, has been brought to the coastal town of Nything by an unexpected inheritance. The flamboyantly larger-than-life Mrs. Gamalion, who many years before had swept into the newly-widowed Charlotte's recuperative holiday on Lake Como ("bursting through the little crowd as if she were made of a harder, more penetrating substance") and transformed it, has bequeathed her ramshackle, overcrowded house to Charlotte. Alison dismisses her mother's impractical desire to visit the house, but once there Charlotte finds the past returning-particularly that liberating time in Italy-and wonders if the pattern of her life might after all be changed.
The Marble Staircase, an elegant tale of second chances and the ways in which the past can echo and inspire the present, was written in the late 1950s but never published. Long thought to have been lost, it was rediscovered by Elizabeth Fair's heirs in 2021, and Furrowed Middlebrow and Dean Street Press are thrilled to finally make it available, along with the six novels published in Fair's lifetime.
"Miss Fair's understanding is deeper than Mrs. Thirkell's and her humour is untouched by snobbishness; she is much nearer to Trollope, grand master in these matters." Stevie Smith