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Gentlemen and Players

Frances Vernon
Date Published
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Gentleman and Players (1984) was the second novel by the prodigiously gifted Frances Vernon (1963-1991), and served confirmation of what the TLS called her ‘highly original talent.’

Three sisters make their purposeful ways through Victorian society. Sarah, the eldest, makes an ostensibly good marriage, but is given cause to reconsider. Sophie, the youngest, undergoes romantic travails of heartbreak and elopement. Susan, the practical middle child, dispenses wisdom from her perch in a rural rectory. But the objects of their affections are mere ‘gentlemen’, while the three Misses Pagett are assuredly ‘players.’

‘A delight … Cool, precise, amused and amusing … Frances Vernon should become a cult figure.’ Robert Nye, Guardian

‘An achievement of purposeful economy.’ Victoria Glendinning, Sunday Times


Frances Vernon was born on December 1 1963, and raised on the Sudbury Estate in Derbyshire. At the age of 18 she embarked upon a writing career, and would complete six novels in the space of ten years. Privileged Children (1982) won the Author’s Club Award for Best First Novel, and the Daily Express praised its ‘genuine sparkle and invention.’…

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