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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
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