Mabel Winston is the non-fiction publishing director of an international publisher. She is clever, stylish, and dedicated. She has a dream boyfriend, lawyer Tom Rutherford, and an adoring personal assistant. But Kitty thinks Mabel takes Tom for granted and is too comfortable about the parade of men in her life.
Raphael Cannane drifts back into Mabel’s life after a ten-year break. Mabel and Raf grew up in the same street. Raf’s twin sister, Rebecca, was sweet, but Raf sometimes a snarling tomcat, verbally destroying those who crossed him. Mabel was often a victim. She could never understand why. Now he is back, troubling her, not in the same savage way, but observing her with a disturbing irony. Raf’s father makes him promise to reconcile with Mabel. Mabel is happy with a reconciliation of sorts.
Mabel departs with her mother, Miriam, on a holiday to England, part of which is a self-organized tour of the places in Jane Austen’s two Bath novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. On the flight, they meet Dirk Howlett-Smit, a funds manager. Dirk invites Mabel and Miriam to his sprawling Georgian mansion. Dirk and Mabel connect. All is going well when Mabel abruptly packs up and flees to Bath with her mother. Dirk and his daughter, Edwina, follow and join the tour. Raf and Rebecca arrive unexpectedly, as do others. The tour, swelling to eight, becomes torture for Mabel. She feels herself losing control of the situation.
Released 1 January 2021.