Set in 1930s France, Margery Sharp’s witty, warm-hearted novel tells the story of a free-spirited mother who is reunited with her very proper daughter after sixteen years, when her daughter asks her to inspect her fiancé
Julia Packett has barely laid eyes on her daughter, Susan, since leaving her with her proper, well-heeled in-laws after her husband was killed in World War I. Now thirty-seven, her lack of prospects hasn’t dimmed her spirit or appetite for life. So when Susan asks her to come to France for the summer to persuade her grandmother to allow her to marry her fiancé, Julia sets sail with the noblest intentions of being a paragon of motherhood.
But at her mother-in-law’s vacation villa in Haute Savoie, Julia sees that her priggish but lovely daughter is completely mismatched with a man who is just like herself: a charming, clever playboy. The arrival of Susan’s legal guardian, the distinguished Sir William Waring, further complicates the situation. Soon Julia’s efforts to pass herself off as a lady and secure her daughter’s happiness spin out of control, leading to romantic entanglements and madcap adventures that challenge preconceived notions about the ultimate compatibility of any two people who fall in love.