After a traumatic and poverty-stricken childhood, Dilys, the heroine of Mavis Cheek's novel The Sex Life of My Aunt
, has led an ideal existence for the past 30 years. Her devoted and successful husband Francis has paid the bills, kept her in fine clothes, indulged her fantasies about writing a book. She's wanted for nothing. Until one day, after a funeral, she finds herself in tears on a railway station, and a handsome young stranger offers her a handkerchief. The innocence of this brief encounter swiftly turns into a hideous campaign of deceit, as Dilys is sucked into an intense love affair, and experiences heights of passion she'd always believed beyond her reach. But the lies she must tell to sustain it lead Dilys to make some shocking discoveries about her own past.
The incorrigible Aunt Eliza of the book's title might be described as a "national treasure". So indeed, might the novel itself. Its cast--composed of well-meaning husbands, earnest radicals in bedsits, redoubtable old ladies in Lichfield--is vivid, irresistible, yet utterly familiar. Its backdrop of local trattorias, mini-breaks and Dorset holiday cottages is as comforting as a much-loved cardigan. But this is how--like Barbara Pym before her--Mavis Cheek establishes herself as a genius of the modern morality tale. In depicting the ordinary with such vigour, she prepares us to confront the extraordinary, the sometimes brutal truths that lurk behind the most homely façade. To do so--and be hilariously funny at the same time--is a rare gift. --Matthew Baylis
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'Energetic, witty and brimming with good sense, Cheek's astute social comedies point out to receptive ears the pitfalls of love, sex, and the contradictory mess that is the female state.' -- Independent
'Like Joanna Trollope, she combines a sharp eye for the foibles of human nature with a generous amount of sympathy for her characters. The result is a modern morality tale, skilfully told, about the age-old conflict between love and money.' -- The Times
'This is light, entertaining stuff, but this book is streets ahead of the usual run of romantic comedy . . . Cheek is a genuinely witty writer with the ability to make you laugh out loud.' -- Daily Mail