It was a bit of a risk to start reading her books with this one, but it came highly recommended, and Adele Geras managed the unimaginable: she made me interested in the preliminaries to a white wedding. Unlike many small girls, my daydreams did not focus on walking up the aisle in a fluff of white tulle, yearning instead after black velvet and sophistication (I also couldn't envisage myself agreeing to obey anyone, thank you) so it was a surprise to find that I really cared whether Zannah would ever have the opportunity to wear her dream dress. My sympathies were engaged from the outset by an excellent cast of characters including the quirky Charlotte and her lodgers, the appealing Isis (Geras does children well) and some infuriating men. Although 30-something years of marriage meant that it was fairly easy to identify with Joss's feeling that her relationship, if comfortable, was unexciting, the writing has an immediacy which should make it accessible to anyone. Descriptions are rewarding and the tearoom full of pictures of sinking boats will stay with me.
Because I read so much I take it as the sign of a good book if I think about it when I'm not reading, and this was one I was impatient to get back to. There are more books by this author to look forward to, including her work for children: someone who writes about children with such a deft hand will, I'm sure, write well for them, too.