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The Landscape of Love by Sally Beauman
The Landscape of Love is initially set in 1967 and is told through the journal of 13-year-old Maisie Mortland. She and her two older sisters live an impoverished life with their mother and grandfather in an old abbey, and the girls have their portrait painted that summer. Julia is beautiful, Finn is bookish, and Maisie is the odd child in the family, the one who spies on the others and claims to speak with the ghosts of the nuns who lived in the abbey. Maisie also idolizes Daniel Nunn, a handsome gypsy boy in the village. The story jumps forward to 1991 where the famous portrait of the girls is shown in London, and Daniel's career as a advertising director has peaked and flamed out. Haunted by his past and longing for that lost summer idyll, he sets out to find out what really happened that summer. Sally Beauman's novel has received mostly positive reviews with The Telegraph saying, "The elegiac undertone enriches this sophisticated drama. Sally Beauman is a skilful writer who manages a complicated plot with a magician's mastery, flicking between viewpoints and periods, always smooth and deceptive, surprising the reader all the way from the book's apparently romantic beginning to an unexpectedly unhappy end."