Privileged Children, first published in 1982, was the brilliant debut fiction by the prodigiously gifted Frances Vernon (1963-1991), which earned her the Author's Club Award for Best First Novel.
When Diana Molloy dies in 1912 she leaves a curious inheritance to her 14-year-old daughter Alice - her collection of books, and a lasting attachment to her mother's bohemian friends. The self-possessed young Alice is dismayed, therefore, to be packed off to live with a rural clergyman uncle. But it's not long before she contrives an escape back to her beloved Bloomsbury, and the opportunity to forge her own way in the world.
'Saucy and daring... here is genuine sparkle and invention.' Daily Express
'Highly enjoyable' Jenny Uglow, TLS
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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.