Once upon a time Lucy would have agreed with her father. But now, won over by her mother's memories - of Patmore, the family estate; of Gervase, her first love; of a past never less than perfect - she wouldn't dream of criticising the yearly ritual of tea at Gunter's. For it is there that her mother still meets Gervase; there that she can talk endlessly of the golden days before 1914, of the great might-have-been. But perhaps Lucy's mother can recreate the past through her daughter?
Pamela Haines was born in Yorkshire, like so many of the characters in her novels. Knaresborough, Leeds, and Harrogate have all played a part in her family background. She was educated at a convent in the Midlands, and then read English at Newnham College, Cambridge. As a child she wrote nonstop, but around the age of 17, life became too busy, and she did not write again until her late thirties, by which time she was married to a doctor, and had five children.
In 1971 she won the Spectator New Writing Prize with a short story, and eventually completed her first novel, Tea at Gunter's, in 1973. Critically acclaimed, it was the joint winner of the Yorkshire Arts Association Award for Young Writers. It was followed in 1976 by A Kind of War, described as 'a book to re-read and treasure' in the Daily Telegraph, and the even more successful Men on White Horses followed in 1978.
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