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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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|Publisher:||Faber and Faber|
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|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
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.' Gentleman and Players (1984) earned further glowing notices: in the Guardian Robert Nye predicted that 'Frances Vernon should become a cult figure.' The Bohemian Girl followed in 1985, A Desirable Husband in 1987, The Marquis of Westmarch in 1989.
Frances Vernon's untimely death in 1991, aged just 27, was felt by all who knew her and her work to be especially poignant. Her final novel, The Fall of Doctor Onslow, was published posthumously in July 1994. Lucasta Miller for the Independent hailed it as 'both a tragic reminder of what she might have gone on to do, and a testimony to what she did achieve.'
Faber Finds is privileged to reissue Frances Vernon's entire oeuvre, each edition including a new preface in which her life and work are discussed in interview by her mother Sheila Vernon and her first cousin the photographer and author Michael Marten.