Edgar, though, is still on a mission to be accepted by the titled English snobs who wander bored through the glories of Europe. In Paris the boys discover to their horror that their lineage is even more un-English than they knew. Lavelle circles, cruel but charming, driving a wedge between the brothers that will result in tragedy. An original and spirited novel.
Benjamin, increasingly recognising his sexual attraction to other men, is rescued by the seductive Mr Lavelle, a handsome rebel against conventions. They embark on a passionate affair that leads Benjamin towards sexual and emotional fulfilment, but tragedy lurks in the wings. Although Blackmore’s third novel is a lively narrative, Lavelle, its pivotal character, too often comes across as less darkly Byronic antihero, more loudmouth adolescent.