This is a most glum cover for this book. The one I have is a very intriguing one of a very enticing girl on the cover and I cant find it to put here. This is becoming a recurring complaint.
The story set between the two World Wars deals with Charley whose Christmas present is a holiday to Paris. It should have been a bright breezy story with Charley enjoying the sights and sounds of Paris but instead it changed his life. He met Lydia a Russian emigre who is displaced and fatherless and who longs for a husband who is in prison for life (drugs and murder).
As we go through the story the contrast is very apparent between Charley - close to family, very English, aware of what is expected in his life and wanting to conform, not to create waves and disrupt anyone's life, and then you get his friend Simon - friends from childhood rude, crude and ruthless. The very antithesis of Charley.
The stories of Lydia and Simon disrupt Charley's very placid world - to the extent that he knows that he can never view the world in the same way as before he visited Paris. It is the contrasts of the two characters - Simon and Lydia on one side and Charley on the other, which make the whole book.
Slightly old fashioned as against my other reads - this takes a little getting used to. Not old fashioned in the Jane Austen sense which I would love to read over and over again, but different.
The weather in Sri Lanka is hot, humid and unbearable. If anyone out there has any cold weather, please send it here.