We all know that They Never Leave Their Wives, and we know from the beginning that this book is unlikely to end happily for Olivia, its charming heroine. She's a nice middle-class girl, trying to live the bohemian life on no money in 1930s London; Rollo, her lover, is the heir to a baronetcy, rich, handsome, successful- and married. She's on a losing wicket from the start, but she can't resist him; soon she's staying in on the offchance he might call round and lying to her friends and family in the time-honoured manner. The reader is subtly shown that there are two truths here: on the one hand there is a genuine love story- Olivia and Rollo really love each other- but on the other, this is the account of Olivia's desperate struggle for the status, wealth and social acceptance she would get as the recognised partner of an alpha male like Rollo. The materialistic aspects of the affair are described in luscious detail- the emerald ring, the weekend trips in expensive cars, the extravagant lunches and lavish gifts of books and flowers- as are the glimpses of Rollo's wealthy lifestyle that make Olivia covet the position of his wife. To conclude: this is both a touching love story and a cynical account of the relations between men and women, all in Rosamond Lehmann's crisp, poetic, humorous prose.