Penelope Fitzgerald's fascinating portrait of the tragic poet and her life at the heart of the Bloomsbury set. Charlotte Mew (1869-1928) cut one of the most distinctive figures of the twentieth century - beloved of Siegfried Sassoon and Walter de la Mare (for whom she was `a very rare being'), unafraid of Virginia Woolf, and considered by Hardy to be `far and away the best living woman poet'. Part of a new wave of fashionable female dandies who lived passionate, precarious existences in Bloomsbury, she was an enchanting and spirited personality.
But behind the brave face was a life riddled with grief: left to care for her disturbed mother, two siblings with undiagnosed Schizophrenia and Charlotte herself burdened by depression and closeted lesbianism; she killed herself by drinking household disinfectant. In this unexpectedly gripping portrait of a life of passion unfulfilled, Penelope Fitzgerald brings all her novelist's skills into play in telling a story that is at once tragic, beautiful and deeply human.