Patience has always been the favored sister, cruising through school, marrying a successful banker, and producing perfect children, whom she duly sends to boarding school. Her bossiness and moral certainty make her insufferable, but she is blissfully oblivious. Dorian, on the other hand, is the intellectual in the family, separated and childless, and engaged in a secret affair with a feckless gossip columnist.
When Patience's husband deserts her for another woman, the tables are turned. Somehow, Dorian has become a glamorous, confident single woman, while Patience is deserted by her fellow committee members and so-called friends. Even as her glass house crumbles around her, she is determined to find another suitable mate and rebuild her life.
In the tradition of Scarlet Angel and Flowering Judas, this sharp, satirical novel by one of Britain's finest writers gives a pointed, irresistible jab to the hypocrisy of the "appearances are everything" crowd.