'A very good thriller...I enjoyed it immensely' William Trevor, Guardian
After the tragic deaths of their parents, Magdalen and Norah discover the devastating news that they are both illegitimate and not entitled to any inheritance. Norah is forced to become a governess to earn her keep but Magdalen has grander plans and embarks on an elaborate scheme of revenge against her cold-hearted relatives.
“A relatively unknown masterpiece”
“Magdalen, a woman who resists the Victorian idea of the angel in the house and proves to be unscrupulous in her fight for survival against poverty and prejudice, employing disguise and deceit to win back what she believes is rightfully hers”
“Dizzyingly readable, with a feminist anti-heroine up to all sorts of deception and skulduggery, cheered along by the reader every step of the way”
Mail on Sunday
“Two dispossessed sisters fight for their inheritance, the narrative snaking compellingly around Victorian Britain”
“Collins explores the iniquity of Victorian morality by damning the future of his resourceful heroine at an early stage with the discovery of her own illegitimacy. Deprived of her inheritance and even her name, Magdalen Vanstone sets out with frightening courage to reestablish her fortune and reputation. The ingenuity and guile she employs to achieve her end makes her a rare figure in Victorian literature and one of Collins' most subversive characters”