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A novel set in London and rural Ireland and spanning more than half a century, and with themes of deception and pretence, this is the story of the McDermotts and the Davidsons, two families linked by the marriage of Rose McDermott, an attractive, spirited Irishwoman, to Henry Davidson, a wealthy Londoner. Like most unions, Henry and Rose's goes well for the first while but then begins to deteriorate. Rose is looking for love and communication; Henry, enigmatic and cold, seeks only an heir to continue the Davidson family line. Within a few short years, husband and wife are leading separate lives while living under the one roof and keeping up appearances.