Shelfari edited the description of Habits of the house Thursday, June 14, 2012.
As the summer of 1899 gives way to autumn Lord Dilberne's decision to remain in Belgrave Square rather than move the household to the ancestral acres of Dilberne Court sends out ripples of concern over his debts. The ripples spread to his wife Isobel who orders the life of the household, and to Grace the lady's maid who orders the life of her mistress. They touch the insouciant lives of his still unmarried children, Arthur, who is passionate about motor cars and keeps a courtesan in Half Moon Street, and Rosina, who airs fashionably progressive views and keeps a parrot in her bedroom. The novel explores how the ripples of change affect the lives above stairs and below. But as the story unfolds it becomes also a novel about affairs of the heart, a love story precipitated by the arrival on the London scene of Minnie, an American heiress, and her resourceful mother intent on finding her daughter a husband. With wit and sympathy - and no small measure of mischief - Ms Weldon plots the interplay of restraint and desire, manners and morals, reason and instinct, as Minnie and Arthur, thrown together by their parents, strive to determine their own destinies.