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Girl in a Garden

UK Publisher: Grove Atlantic

Long, lazy afternoons of suburbia – but on neat and tidy Esper Road, nothing is more dangerous than boredom…

Meet the Beechams at number 17: Charles, a left-wing party activist and Emma, his wife, who dreams of society parties in St Tropez. Their disagreements extend to Linka, their tomboyish daughter and the only thing they have in common. She refuses to take sides and prefers to fashion makeshift weapons at the bottom of the garden rather than follow the socialist cause or pick out a new dress fabric.

Told with a fierce intelligence and coruscating insight, GIRL IN A GARDEN is a story of secret wars as only a child can detect them. Britain, rebuilding after the war and poised for the social revolution of the 1960s, is on the surface optimistic. But beneath the veneer lurks snobbery and uncertainty. When Linka and her mother both fall in love with a Polish refugee, passion and propriety viciously collide.

Lesley Chamberlain is a writer and reviewer distinguished for her wide-ranging work from travel (In the Communist Mirror) to philosophy (Nietzsche in Turin). In 1998 she published a collection of Russian stories, In a Place Like That, described as “a brilliant book … a touching and humorous requiem to a lost world” (TLS). GIRL IN A GARDEN is her first novel.