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One of the last century's greatest woman writers' GuardianWhen sixteen-year-old Portia is orphaned she is plunged into the sophisticated and politely treacherous world of her wealthy half-brother's home. There she encounters the attractive cad Eddie. To him, Portia is at once child and woman, and he fears her gushing love. To her, Eddie is the only reason to be alive. But when Eddie follows Portia to a sea-side resort, the flash of a cigarette lighter in a darkened cinema illuminates a stunning romantic betrayal - and sets in motion one of the most moving and desperate flights of the heart in modern literature.
Elizabeth Bowen was born in Dublin in 1899, the only child of an Irish lawyer and land-owner. She travelled a great deal, dividing most of her time between London and Bowen's Court, the family house in County Cork which she inherited. Her first book, a collection of shorts stories, Encounters, was published in 1923. The Hotel (1926) was her first novel. She was awarded the CBE in 1948, and received honorary degrees from Trinity College, Dublin in 1949, and from Oxford University in 1956. The Royal Society of Literature made her a Companion of Literature in 1965. Elizabeth Bowen died in 1973.