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But the servants! Anything might happen to them. They might go in a train to Woolwich and meet the love of their lives, or be murdered almost for the asking. Not that one wanted to be murdered exactly, but there was frustration in being denied the possibility.From an author The Queen called “a humorist of the first order” comes the deliciously dark tale of the strange and woeful young womanhood of Margaret, the narrator of Elizabeth Eliot’s debut novel, and her friend Alice, from their final year at boarding-school in the late 1920s until just before World War II.The girls have adventures at school, are presented at court, and experience the vicissitudes of high society and their eccentric, increasingly impoverished families. Alice marries, unhappily, and involves Margaret in her hardships, until she suddenly decides—with fabulous success—to become an actress. And through it all the young women engage in loopy existential ponderings about their fates, gleefully detailing the radical instability of their world. Anxious characters marooned in a world without safe harbour—a tragic circumstance, but, in Eliot’s hands, an absolutely hilarious one. Evoking by turn the morbid humour of Barbara Comyns and the high society sorrows of Rachel Ferguson, Alice is very much its own brilliant confection.Furrowed Middlebrow and Dean Street Press also publish three of Eliot’s later novels—Henry, Mrs. Martell, and Cecil—all back in print for the first time in more than half a century. They all feature a new introduction by Elizabeth Crawford.“Miraculously good . . . delightful and wise and irreproachably understanding” The Bookman“This is surely the most impressive first novel of the year. Elizabeth Eliot is a writer to watch” The Queen“A first novel of singular originality . . . so endearing in spirit that it is hard not to feel for it a kind of personal affection” Daily Telegraph“I can pay her no higher compliment than to say that the nearest thing to it I know in literature are the deliciously malicious books of Elizabeth and Her German Garden.” The Sphere“An enticing book” Tatler“Miss Eliot is a superb portrait painter” The Spectator
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