Set primarily in England from 1926 to 1978, Barbara Taylor Bradford's latest novel depicts three indomitable women who valiantly struggle with adversity, and with their own implacable natures.
Following the untimely deaths of her cultured parents, Audra Kenton, a young woman of immense mettle, becomes the nanny of an affluent couple's son. Although the pragmatic Audra shuns romance, she finds herself captivated by Vincent Crowther, whose rakishness and working-class background contrast stunningly with Audra's genteel reserve. After they wed, the couple vacillates between misery and bliss due to their irreconcilable values, as well as a mutual inability to compromise. The birth of a daughter, Christina, restores some equilibrium to the Crowthers' marriage, but Audra's fervent vow to "give her (child) the world" jars Vincent. For years, she selflessly fosters Christina's artistic talent, yet the girl's eventual success as a couturier cannot compensate for heartache, particularly that which is inflicted by Christina's own daughter, Kyle.
The dignified eloquence of Bradford's style distinguishes this tale, which contains several masterful characterizations, and only a tinge of melodrama. In addition, the author poignantly describes the stoicism typically shown by England's citizens during the Depression and World War II.