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1922. Vivien is twenty-four and a spinster. She wears fashionably droopy clothes, but she is plain and—almost worse—intelligent. At nearly six feet tall, she is known unkindly by her family as “the giantess.”
Fortunately, Vivien is rich, so she can travel to London and bribe a charismatic gentleman publisher to marry her. What he does not know is that Vivien is pregnant with another man’s child and will die in childbirth in just a few months...
Fay Weldon, with one eye on the present and one on the past, offers Vivien’s fate, along with that of London between World War I and World War II. This is a city fizzing with change, full of flat-chested flappers, shell-shocked soldiers, and aristocrats clinging onto the past.
Inventive, warm, playful, and full of Weldon’s trademark ironic edge, Before the War is a spellbinding novel from one of the best writers of our time.