From Library Journal
Frances Wray is a woman of limited opportunities stuck in genteel poverty in an England that has not quite recovered from World War I. When she and her mother begin renting out half of their house to the Barbers, the change is disruptive. The Barbers are lower class, a little noisy, and tacky. Leonard sometimes says off-color things to Frances; Lilian is pretty but unhappy. Something is off about the Barbers’ marriage, but a part of Frances relishes the change. As Frances and Lilian grow closer, she finds Lilian more attractive and their lives begin to mesh. But when a crisis comes, will each woman be able to see it through? And what does it mean morally if they do? Can love really conquer everything? Moody and atmospheric, this latest from three-time Booker Prize finalist Waters (The Little Stranger) has a rich historical setting in which you can feel the smallness of middle-class English life. But neither Frances nor Lilian is terribly sympathetic, and it’s hard to root for them. But perhaps that is the point. Waters keeps you guessing until the very end. For fans of complex historical crime fiction with a strong sense of dread.
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