When lovelorn Annie McDee stumbles across a dirty painting in a junk shop while looking for a present for an unsuitable man, she has no idea what she has discovered.
Soon she finds herself drawn unwillingly into the tumultuous London art world, populated by exiled Russian oligarchs, avaricious Sheikas, desperate auctioneers and unscrupulous dealers, all scheming to get their hands on her painting - a lost eighteenth-century masterpiece called 'The Improbability of Love'.
Delving into the painting's past, Annie will uncover not just an illustrious list of former owners, but some of the darkest secrets of European history - and in doing so she might just learn to open up to the possibility of falling in love again.
Published on 31 March 2016.
Published by: Bloomsbury Paperbacks
It's the midsummer ball at Oxford, and a group of men and women - friends since university days - have gathered under the stars. Included in this group is David Crimond, a genius and fervent Marxist.
Years earlier the friends had persuaded David to write a philosophical and political book on their behalf. But opinions and loyalties have changed, and on this summer evening the long-resting ghosts of the past come careering back into the present.
Published in 2003.
The Sea is John Banville's Man Booker prize-winning exploration of memory, childhood and loss.
When art historian Max Morden returns to the seaside village where he once spent a childhood holiday, he is both escaping from a recent loss and confronting a distant trauma. The Grace family had appeared that long-ago summer as if from another world.
Mr and Mrs Grace, with their worldly ease and candour, were unlike any adults he had met before. But it was his contemporaries, the Grace twins Myles and Chloe, who most fascinated Max. He grew to know them intricately, even intimately, and what ensued would haunt him for the rest of his years and shape everything that was to follow.
Published in 2008.
Drawing on history, literature, and his own experience of unrequited passion, Love is a thinly disguised picture of the author’s innermost feelings.
Stendahl’s obsession with Mathilde Viscontini Dembowski is at the heart of this book. For her part, she neither returned his love nor understood him. In an attempt to expain his feelings to her—and to exorcise his love—he dissects his passion.
Bringing together the conflicting sides of his nature, the deeply emotional and the coolly analytical, Stendhal constructed a work that is both acutely personal and universally applicable.
Published in 1975.