First published in Great Britain in 1995.
I really enjoyed this book - I wish I hadn't read it so fast. It's set in the 1950s, around two sisters, Isobel (the narrator) and Caro, whose father deserts them and whose mother resents them. When their mother marries again, Cousin Ursula, a model daughter with a secret vindictive streak, comes into their lives. Ursula attends the same convent school as the sisters, and works her way into their mother's affections.
The story could have ended up being incredibly gloomy, but this book shows the silver lining. Not all the adults are taken in by Ursula, and Isobel finds that she doesn't really need those who are. You really want things to turn out well for Isobel, and in the end they do, and probably even in the way that she wanted all along.31 March 1998