Beautiful Lady Brenda Last lives at Hetton Abbey, a Gothic monstrosity that is her devoted husband's pride and joy. Bored and restless after seven years of marriage, she drifts into an affair with worthless young socialite John Beaver. Abandoning Tony for the glamorous yet distinctly shallow London social scene, Brenda imagines divorce will bring her happiness. Instead she and Tony feel increasing social isolation; victims of the irresponsible, drifting times in which they live.
'Peculiarly compelling... Waugh's love-hate fascination with upper-class amorality inspires a world of malign providence and divine injustice.'