A chance encounter in a French town brings dark memories flooding back to fifty-five-year-old Kate. As a student at Sweet Briar College, Virginia in the 1950s, she joined a grand tour of Europe along with three classmates and their chaperone, Miss Grist. At the last minute, the mysterious and wealthy new girl, Olivia Hartfield, surprised them all by joining them.
Revelling in the unparalleled freedom of the old world, Kate and her friends gradually form a privileged and sophisticated clique as, one by one, three intriguing but very different young men latch on to their party. But nobody is quite as they appear, and as facades crumble, this journey would prove eye-opening in ways the girls couldn't have possibly have imagined.On a remote outing a tragic and sinister event occurs.Now, thirty years later, the question is still open: what really happened that day?
A perfect holiday read. Its absorbing narrative compels the reader to turn the pages, and yet its descriptive writing often invites re-reading for the sheer pleasure of the prose. Set in five countries (most spectacularly Egypt), and imbued with the spirit of Henry James, this nostalgic chronicle of a loss of innocence still draws reflective thought long after the book's conclusion.
Written with a light, deft touch that belies the emotional punch that it packs.
A ROPE OF SAND is beautifully constructed, delaying its shocks until the last possible moment. Period and place are conveyed with economy and sharpness, and the layering of ambiguities seems worthy not only of Henry James but of Elizabethe Bowen.
An ultimately tragic tale of sophomoric lust and snobbery.