Your brother takes me for a barbarian, Mr Bowen. But I assure you, I’m quite well trained.'

When Benjamin and Edgar Bowen embark on a Grand Tour of Europe, they are ready to meet People of Quality. They have trunks full of powdered silver wigs and matching suits, a hunger to experience the architectural wonders of Ancient Rome and an ability to quote Voltaire (at length). They will make connections and establish themselves in high society, just as their mother has planned.

But it soon becomes apparent that their outfits are not quite the right shade of grey, their smiles are too ready, their appreciation of the arts ridiculous. Class, they learn, is not something that can be studied.

Benjamin’s true education begins when he meets Horace Lavelle. Beautiful, charismatic, seductive, Lavelle delights in skewering the pretensions and prejudices of their milieu. He consumes Benjamin’s every thought.

Love can transform a person. Can it save them?

 

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© Neil Blackmore