The New York Times–bestselling “masterpiece” and its haunting sequel, from a British novelist of “visceral power” (Jonathan Coe, The Guardian).
“A novelist in the grand tradition,” New York Times–bestselling author Rosamond Lehmann wrote moving and memorable stories about the inner emotional lives of British girls and women (Anita Brookner). Jonathan Coe noted that Lehmann “has every quality that a great writer should possess . . . [including] an astonishing, unembarrassed emotionality that gives visceral power to her recurring themes—thwarted love, faithlessness, the unbearable sadness of naïve romantic feelings being crushed by the passage of time.”
Those themes are explored through the character of Rebecca Landon, who appears as an innocent girl in Lehmann’s bestselling The Ballad and the Source, and as an emotionally wounded woman in her sequel, A Sea-Grape Tree, written over thirty years later.
The Ballad and the Source: In this New York Times bestseller, when the former best friend of Rebecca Landon’s grandmother returns home to England, the ten-year-old girl is enchanted by the elderly woman’s magnetic personality and shockingly blunt manner. Rebecca comes to learn that Sibyl Jardine left her husband for another man decades ago, becoming estranged from her daughter and never seeing her grandchildren . . . until now. Set during the First World War, this “haunting book, expertly handled” follows Rebecca’s journey into adolescence and her evolving awareness of the complexity of human behavior and emotions through her friendship with Sibyl (Kirkus Reviews).
“[Lehmann] broods delicately and beautifully over the past, turning the gaze inward.” —The New York Times
A Sea-Grape Tree: In this lyrical sequel set in 1933, an adult Rebecca has fled to an island in the Caribbean, after a heart-wrenching betrayal by her married lover. There, she meets a colony of expatriates, including a former pilot who was crippled in the war and now lives as a recluse, with whom she begins an affair. But there’s yet another presence on the island—the spirit of the complex woman who fascinated Rebecca as a child: Sibyl Jardine.
“Full of her sensibility, her funniness, her own particular acumen. It is also beautifully written and devised.” —Elizabeth Jane Howard