"Here I am!" Flora called to Richard as she went downstairs. For a second, Meg felt disloyalty. It occurred to her of a sudden that Flora was always saying that, and that it was in the tone of one giving a lovely present. She was bestowing herself.'
The soul of kindness is what Flora believes herself to be. Tall, blonde and beautiful, she appears to have everything under control -- her home, her baby, her husband Richard, her friend Meg, Kit, Meg's brother, who has always adored Flora, and Patrick the novelist and domestic pet. Only the bohemian painter Liz refuses to become a worshipper at the shrine.
Flora entrances them all, dangling visions of happiness and success before their spellbound eyes. All are bewitched by this golden tyrant, all conspire to protect her from what she really is. All, that is, except the clear-eyed Liz: it is left to her to show them that Flora's kindness is the sweetest poison of them all.
Elizabeth Taylor (1912-1975) was born in Reading, Berkshire and spent much of her life in Penn, Buckinghamshire. Critically she is one of the most acclaimed British novelists of this century. Virago publishes twelve of her sixteen works of fiction.