‘There was no one in the room. Blinds and curtains were closed; the light of the skies, if any, was shut out. ? Only the fire was alive, consuming its life-for what? Then the door opened and as Claudia came with hurried steps into the fire’s glow, two open letters in her hand, the telephone began ringing. She shut the door and turned up the lights.’
Claudia Heseltine returns to this moment three times in a series of parallel narratives. As the novel presses the re-set button, she accepts each invitation, one by telephone, two by letter, to a specific social event, and in doing so her life goes down a different path with its own possibilities and achievements, sorrows, and disappointments. This is an inventive novel, published in 1931, which contemplates the consequences of a single decision.
Part of a curated collection of forgotten works by early to mid-century women writers, the British Library Women Writers series highlights the best middlebrow fiction from the 1910s to the 1960s, offering escapism, popular appeal, and plenty of period detail to amuse, surprise and inform.