Rose, don't leave me. Promise never to leave me,' said Ned on their wedding night, revealing an unexpected chink in his perfect armour of wealth, good looks, and country estate. Rose promised.Before the wedding, Mylo had said, 'In bed, with Ned, you will wonder whether this curious act of sex would not, with Mylo, turn into something sublime - When I send for you urgently to come and meet me - just come.'For the whole of Rose's respectable married life, she had kept faith with both men. To Ned she was a perfect wife, mother of his son and elegant hostess of Slepe. To Mylo, Rose was an impetuous and unconventional mistress, answering his erratic and impassionate calls throughout fifty years of tactful duplicity.After Ned's funeral Rose looks back on a life of dual constancy, passion, humour, and the ambiguities of love - and chooses her future.
Mary Wesley was born near Windsor in 1912. Her education took her to the London School of Economics and during the War she worked in the War Office. Although she initially fulfilled her parents' expectations in marrying an aristocrat she then scandalised them when she divorced him in 1945 and moved in with the great love of her life, Eric Siepmann. The couple married in 1952, once his wife had finally been persuaded to divorce him. She used to comment that her 'chief claim to fame is arrested development, getting my first novel Jumping the Queue published at the age of seventy'. She went on to write a further nine novels, three of which were adapted for television, including the best-selling The Camomile Lawn. Mary Wesley was awarded the CBE in the 1995 New Year's honour list and died in 2002.