A black comedy, Tilly, successful in her work as an engineer on an oil-rig, marries lazy, `anything for a quiet life' Geoffrey with his two miserable children.
We join the story when we find that Tilly has not been consulted about the wedding of his son - the family know that that particular date is always ear-marked for the date in June when Tilly has to undertake an annual inspection - unexpectedly, however, she finds she is suddenly able to attend. I loved the last sentence of the chapter which says it all, ``I was as free as anyone to celebrate the beginning of Tara and Harry's life together. And start looking forward to the end of our own."
She doesn't pretend to be a `nice' person. She can hold her own in business, can bed lovers when away from home, uncomplainingly foots the bill for alternative treatment for Geoffrey's first wife's cancer and looks after his children on and off for twenty years. But she can't grasp the freedom she desperately seeks.
Anne Fine is the master of the deeply flawed character, the situations that people get themselves into and can't escape, at least, not polite intelligent middle England types inured by a lifetime of being expected to accept far too much from each other. It is extremely witty and is surprisingly sensitive. You can't really like Tilly, but you feel for her in many ways. I loved the book, and was delightfully appalled by the ending. Thoroughly recommended.
Available on Kindle, but too expensive - I already have the paperback - would have bought a Kindle copy had it been reasonably priced.