A brilliant, stylish novel encompassing the robust life of Boston and London, just at the time of greatest resentment and rebellion by the colonists against the British Government, and displaying the remarkably contemporary prejeudice shown by people on both sides. Makepeace Burke, keeper of a tavern on the waterfront in Boston, could no more watch a fellow creature drown than she could stop the wind blowing. But the price she paid for rescuing an English aristocrat after he had been attacked by the mob was high. She might be a supporter of the more reasonable colonists but she had committed an apparently unforgiveable sin. So her inn became deserted, her brother was tarred and feathered, and her respectable fiancee and his family deserted her. When the Patriots turned to burning her home, she knew she had to take the offer of the much despised Englishmen and so, saved by the Navy and accompanied by her remarkable retinue, she sails for London. She marries her Englishman as his second wife but finds that English society does not easily accept uneducated, colonial, ex-tavernkeepers -- and the first wife, well connected and refusing to acknowledge a divorce, proves a dirty fighter.
But Makepeace, having been chased out of one town by intolerance, is not going to let that happen again. And the reader is rooting for her all the way. Diana Norman has written an unusual, sparkling novel, truly unputdownable -- she is an addictive taste.
Diana Norman is married to film critic Barry Norman, and lives in Hertfordshire.