I absolutely loved this captivating book about three women and how their lives are intimately connected. It begins in 1980 on Hampstead Heath when a beautiful, waif-like young woman, Elise, meets Connie, a writer approaching the height of her fame. They fall in love; Connie is very much the older, more confident partner. Sophisticated and increasingly successful, she moves to L.A., where her latest novel is being made as a major Hollywood film.
While Connie loves L.A., Elise, aimless, depressed and neurotic, hates it. She becomes increasingly resentful of Connie’s growing celebrity and one day, she runs away. Later, living in a filthy Brooklyn apartment, she has a baby. Then she simply and abruptly disappears, leaving Rose, the new-born, behind.
Elise’s abandoned baby, Rose, is brought up by her father Matt, an ineffectual but decent man who betrays his rich Hollywood wife to run away with Elise. He doesn’t know what happened to Rose’s mother after she left him, and the girl grows up frustrated and insecure, eking out a living in a London coffee shop.
When she finds out Connie is still alive, she calls herself Laura and tricks Connie into becoming her secretary/carer. Connie is now crippled with arthritis but still imperious and fascinating, and although Laura/Rose blames the writer for Elise’s disappearance, the two become close – until Connie discovers she’s been tricked.
This beautifully-written book delves deeply into love, dominance, resentment, parenthood and friendship, and the way entire futures and lives can be ripped apart by a whim. A superb read.