Author(s): Elizabeth Taylor
Writing stories that are extravagant and fanciful, fifteen-year old Angel retreats to a world of romance, escaping the drabness of provincial life. She knows she is different, that she is destined to become a feted authoress, owner of great riches and of Paradise House ...After reading The Lady Irania, publishers Brace and Gilchrist are certain the novel will be a success, in spite of - and perhaps because of - its overblown style. But they are curious as to who could have written such a book: 'Some old lady, romanticising behind lace- curtains' ...'Angelica Deverell is too good a name to be true ...she might be an old man. It would be an amusing variation. You are expecting to meet Mary Anne Evans and in Walks George Eliot twirling his moustache.' So nothing can prepare them for the pale young woman who sits before them, with not a seed of irony or a grain of humour in her soul.
'Jane Austen, Elizabeth Taylor, Barbara Pym, Elizabeth Bowen - soul-sisters all' Anne Tyler 'One of the most underrated novelists of the twentieth century' Antonia Fraser 'I envy those readers who are coming to her work for the first time. Theirs will be an unexpected pleasure' Paul Bailey 'Her stories remain with one, indelibly, as though they had been some turning point in one's own experience' Elizabeth Bowen 'Quietly and devatatingly amusing' Hilary Mantel 'An excellent novel' Jonathan Keates, Spectator 'A masterpiece' 'Precious and endearing' 'Angel is a brilliant creation with not a seed of irony, self knowledge or humour in her soul . . . I'm not one who re-reads books but I return to this on frequently and every time it makes me envious - and it makes me laugh and cry. You can't ask for much more from a novel than that' Lesley Glaister, Guardian 'A brilliant exposition of the effects of self-delusion, this novel is as sad on one page as it is funny on the next' Publishers Weekly 'Taylor has an eye as sharply all-seeing as her prose-style is elegant - even the humdrum becomes astonishing' Daily Telegraph
Elizabeth Taylor (1912-1975) was born and educated in Reading. After leaving school she worked as a governess and later in a library. She lived much of her married life in the village of Penn in Buckinghamshire.