Set against the background of first the belle epoque, that Edwardian era of immense luxury and immense social deprivation, moving into the horrors of the First World War and finally the outrageous glamour of the twenties, No Angel is a study in personal power, in family politics and the conflict between right and expediency; it is also a very great love story. Celia Lytton - strong willed, tough, immensely courageous - moves through life taking difficult and often dangerous decisions, both for herself and for others, with far reaching consequences for all of them.
For Oliver Lytton, her husband, head of the great publishing house of Lytton, into which she moves as his wife at the age of only eighteen; for Sylvia Miller, whose own life of relentless poverty is changed forever by Celia's intrusion into it; for Barty, Sylvia's youngest daughter, removed from her family to join the Lyttons, to her great benefit - and also her great cost; for LM, Oliver's daunting elder sister, a match for Celia in will, but not in emotional experience; for the American branch of the family, living out their own dramas in New York but drawn nonetheless into the Lytton web; and for Sebastian Brooke, author of a legendary children's book, whose personal as well as his professional life is taken over by Celia and with whom she makes what is perhaps the most dangerous decision of all. And of course, for Lyttons itself, changed and shaped as it is by Celia's leading part in its conduct. When does the end justify the means? Can wrong ever become right? And is anything entirely black - or indeed white? No Angel asks all these questions - and tries to answer them.
It is volume one in a series, The Spoils of Time, which follows the Lyttons through the first fifty years of the twentieth century.show more