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Synopsis

"I read my daughter's diaries the other day. You may find that despicable, but let me share with you. You think truly dreadful things only happen in other countries, other cultures, far away: but they also happen in your own back yard, and to the nicest people."

Sappho was so happy when she married Gavin. She was in love and it seemed that at last everything was falling into place. But she hadn't considered his daughter, Isobel. She is a delightful, charming girl who spends her school holidays caring for the elderly and is the apple of Gavin's eye. Now cast in the role of Wicked Stepmother, Sappho tries all she can to befriend Isobel and find her place in the new family. It's not easy, but no one had promised it would be. Sappho perseveres. But she has a history, and the history works against her.

When it becomes clear that, contrary to popular belief, it is Isobel who steals Gavin's love and attention, and Sappho who must fight for his affection, Sappho is at a loss. How can she win her husband back? With warmth, wit and her unique insights into the workings of the female mind, Fay Weldon has written a brilliant, unsettling new novel about family life today.

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