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Beneath the still quiet of rural England as the century turned lay a complex and fatally linked series of destinies.
The mistress of Fiennders Abbey was often pleased to have her corsets loosened by the estate gardener. Her elder son, Richard, never forgot his true childhood love - Mary - the daughter of the Fiennders' trusted gamekeeper.
The world was changing: pony, trap and track gave way to motor car and road. Class divisions and prejudices were heightened even as the new century promised to end them.
Here in Fiennders Abbey, the internationally renowned actress and writer Jean Marsh has written an extraordinarily gripping novel of emotional and social upheaval in an apparently timeless community with considerable elegance, thought and wit.