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Publisher's Summary

Measuring out the wartime days in a small town on the Thames, Miss Roach is not unattractive but no longer quite young. The Rosamund Tea Rooms boarding house, where she lives with half a dozen others, is as grey and lonely as its residents. For Miss Roach, 'slave of her task-master, solitude', a shaft of not altogether welcome light is suddenly beamed upon her, with the appearance of a charismatic and emotional American Lieutenant. With him comes change - tipping the precariously balanced society of the house and presenting Miss Roach herself with a dilemma.

©1947 Patrick Hamilton (P)2017 Little Brown Book Group

Critic Reviews

"All his novels are terrific, but this one is my favourite." (Sarah Waters) 

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  • Alan Coady
  • 10-27-17

Boarding House Tensions in the Uncertainty of War

Set outside WW2 London, this tale is a wonderful portrayal of people (still in the age of deference) trying their best to rub alongside relative strangers when thrown together in the adult version of evacuation. Hamilton's observation and ear for dialogue come across very well thanks to Lucy Scott's excellent narration. Without spoiling the story, there are characters and behaviours you imagine Hamilton hopes and expects us to dislike and Scott really assists this process. Age, gender and accent pose absolutely no problems for her.