Be careful who you invite into the bosom of your home – she may never leave…A novel from Fay Weldon, the writer who knows women better than they know themselves.
Hattie has a difficult if loving partner, Martyn, an absentee mother, Lallie, and a cynical if attentive grandmother Frances. She tries to do the right and moral thing in a tricky world, and always has. But she now has a baby, Kitty, which makes true morality rather harder to achieve. Somehow, money has to be earned. Into this household comes Agnieszka, from Poland, a domestic paragon. But is she friend or foe? And even if she is foe, and seems likely to bring the domestic world crashing down around their ears, can they afford to let her go? Well, no.
Martyn works for a political magazine, Hattie for a literary agency. At work, too, integrity is suffering as the need for compromise becomes ever more pressing. And always in the background is Frances, tracing the family and social history. And not just family and society but the dwelling houses too; and all those girls and women (the au pairs, the child-minders, the cleaners) who've made Hattie what she is. Not to forget that hefty dollop of male genes which has also played its part – for Hattie's is a lively and none too respectable background – and now, finally, Agnieszka, come to claim her rightful heritage – which is, let's face it, everything. Will Hattie go to the wall? And poor little Kitty…Or will rescue come?