This is an intriguing and engrossing new novel, set in the present, about grandmothers and their potentially powerful role in family life, about nature vs nurture, bloodlines and bridges across generations. The cruiously named Isamay, a young would-be academic, is trying to write a coherent thesis about grandmothers in history - from Sarah Bernhardt and George Sand (rackety and adoring) to the matriarchal Queen Victoria and others - while being constantly surprised by the secrets which her own family, and in particular her two very different grandmothers, have been keeping. An only child, she is named after her two grandmothers, Isa and May, who were there at her birth and who have formed and influenced her in very different ways, and are jealous of each other both want to be first in their granddaughter s affections. Isa is dignified, elegant and posh (but in fact has scandalous secrets to hide, and though she looks so like Isamay, this may be misleading...); May is fat, indomitable and working-class and Isamay has inherited her stubbornness. Isamay is almost thirty and despite having always said she didn t want children herself, finds her biological clock is ticking and tha
Born in Carlisle, Margaret Forster is the author of many successful and acclaimed novels, including Have the Men Had Enough?, Lady's Maid, Diary of an Ordinary Woman, Is There Anything You Want? and most recently Over, as well as bestselling memoirs (Hidden Lives and Precious Lives) and biographies. She is married to writer and journalist Hunter Davies and lives in London and the Lake District.