Recovering from an illness, Rachel, an 18-year-old art student at the Slade in London, is advised to spend a year in a warm climate. She agrees to go to France to act as companion to Cynthia, a delicate, temperamental woman whose husband is in India, and her two children, troubled 15-year-old Thalia and spoiled young Claude. Thalia quickly becomes devoted to Rachel, but their friendship is strained by Rachel’s romance with the son of a well-to-do Breton family.
Though it’s the awkward, emotional Thalia who lends the novel its title, it’s Rachel on whom the novel centers, poignantly telling the tale of her sad first love, her dawning awareness of the vagaries and dishonesties of social life, and the tragedy she is powerless to prevent.
Set in Brittany in the mid-1930s, with an excursion to the cafés and artists’ studios of Montparnasse, Thalia is a dramatic and poignant tale by the author of A Chelsea Concerto. It includes an afterword by the author’s son John Parker, and additional supplementary material.
Dean Street Press, 9781911413837