Ruth Pennistan is a farmer’s daughter, born and brought up in Kent. But her dark hair and eyes belie a forgotten ancestry – a Spanish gypsy grandmother and a passionate inheritance. Malory, the rather strait-laced guest of the family, falls head over heels in love, even whilst Ruth becomes trapped against her will in a drama of love and tragedy with another man. Vita Sackville-West’s first heroine echoes the passions and contradictions of the author's own life.
"Alive with smouldering passion and passages of real beauty… Unquestionably a novel of unusual power"
"Glamorous aristocrat, complete with ancient name, Spanish Gypsy blood, lost inheritance and family scandals; reckless, romantic lesbian and cross-dresser; devoted wife to a noted diplomat and diarist; mother of two talented sons; bestselling writer, gardener of genius - what could be more enthralling?"