‘A gorgeous, wildly seductive novel, shimmering with intelligence, humour and joy’ – Sarah Waters, Financial Times Book of the Year
In 1838 Frederic Chopin, George Sand and her children travel to a monastery in Mallorca. They are there to create and to convalesce, to live a simple life after the wildness of their Paris days.
Witness to this tumultuous arrival is Blanca, the ghost of a teenage girl who has been at the monastery for over three hundred years. Blanca’s was a life cut short and she is outraged. Having lived in a world full, according to her mother, of ‘beautiful men’, she has found that in death it is the women she falls for, their beauty she cannot turn away from, and it is the women and girls who, over her centuries in the village and at the monastery, she has sought to protect from the attentions of men with what little power she has. And then George Sand arrives, this beautiful woman in a man’s clothes, and Blanca is in love.
But the rest of the village is suspicious of the newcomers, and as winter sets in, as George tries to keep her family and herself from falling apart, as Chopin writes prelude after prelude in despair on his tuneless piano, their stay looks likely to end in disaster . . .
Heady with the delicious scent of the Mediterranean, richly witty, and utterly compulsive, Nells Steven’s debut novel Briefly, A Delicious Life is a story about convention and breaking convention, about love – yearning, secret, forbidden, unrequited – and about men and women and the cruelty they mete out to one another.
‘Exquisite’ – New York Times
‘Deeply enjoyable’ – Telegraph
‘Electrifyingly beautiful, exhilaratingly clever . . . sensual, original, intelligent and brimming with love’ – Imogen Hermes Gowar