The House of Eliott

Jean Marsh, Author St. Martin's Press $20.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-312-10996-7
Based on the BBC series she coauthored (as she did the Emmy-winning Upstairs, Downstairs ), Marsh's first novel is an exuberant, glittering romp through London in the early 1920s. Following the death of their apparently affluent physician father, Evangeline and Beatrice Eliott discover they have inherited nothing but the gloomy Victorian Gothic house they inhabit. The story's deliciously detestable villains--social-climbing Aunt Lydia and her pompous, drunken son Arthur--insist that the sisters take in paying guests. Rebelling against this genteel but oppressive prospect, Beatrice finds work as a receptionist for dashing society photographer Jack Maddox. After her unusual, stylish clothes catch the eye of several of his wealthy clients, she and Evangeline start a dressmaking business that grows by leaps and bounds. The champagne-fizz thrills of Jazz-Age nightlife, the sisters' very different approaches to love and sex, and the gradual revelation of their father's sordid secrets keep the story moving at an enjoyable breakneck pace. Though the narrative doesn't stint on glamour, Marsh also shows how established notions about politics, fashion, art and women's sexuality changed dramatically in the bittersweet era following WW I. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
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Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7451-4364-4
Hardcover - 408 pages - 978-0-7862-0230-0
Hardcover - 408 pages - 978-0-7451-7741-0
Hardcover - 265 pages - 978-0-283-06155-4
Hardcover - 408 pages - 978-0-7451-3610-3
Paperback - 297 pages - 978-1-4472-0008-6
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4472-0916-4
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