Worldwide Adventures in Love
In her fifth novel, Wener examines the influence of scandal on personal relationships in two very distinct periods of British history: the 1930s and 1970s. The story revolves around two pairs of sisters, who are worlds apart in terms of background and the societies they live in, yet whose lives become increasingly entwined, reflecting the perennial traits of human nature. Wener also tackles themes that were resonant in each period: the stigma of being single and pregnant in the ´30s, and the devastating results of divorce on a young girl in the ´70s when anorexia and all its related problems were still relatively unknown.
In 1933 Eddie became the first British woman to cross the Arctic, chronicling her exhilaration and fears in letters to her sister, Broo. An intrepid explorer, Eddie’s independence is financed by a family inheritance that allows her to mingle with the fashionable set in southern France and Italy. However, after returning to London, what began as an innocent affair in Capri becomes tinged by jealously and then violence. When Eddie discovers that she is pregnant, her sister suggests a nursing home in Sussex but then mysteriously abandons her when she realises what is at stake.
Some forty years later, in around 1977 – at the heyday of Abba, the Sex Pistols, and the Queen’s Jubilee – Jessie and her younger sister Margaret are fascinated by the eccentricity of their neighbour, Edith, and the treasures she shows them. Edith’s sudden death in a house fire appears to accelerate the break-up of Jessie and Margaret’s family. Suburban Britain in the ´70s was still very conservative, and the net curtains really start to twitch when the girls’ mother moves in with a young hippy and Margaret shaves her hair into a Mohican.
The epigraph by Amelia Earhart, “Adventure is worthwhile in itself”, is the perfect choice for a plot that explores the boundaries of human relationships and what it means to live life to the fullest.