The second of West's 'Cousin Rosamund' trilogy. Written as a stand-alone novel, although even better if you read its prequel ('The Fountain overflows') first.
Continuing the lives of the Aubrey family after the disappearance of their father; Mary and Rose are now at music college; brother Richard Quin is planning to go to university; disliked elder sister Cordelia is starting a new career. But the First World War is looming...
Probably the best fiction I've ever read, West can paint with words so that you feel you're there. The account of an awkward dinner party with family friend Mr Morpurgo and his hostile wife is supreme. And I love her description of self-righteous Cordelia on the eve of her wedding:
'Her new manner...she was still meek, but her meekness was pretentious. Though she was a lamb, it was one which had got itself embroidered on a church banner.'
Exquisitely written, I can't recommend it enough.