Coupling

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‘It was all such a dreadful muddle. How could she sleep with Max, fantasise about Tony (and other men as well), yet also want Elizabeth, want her more than anyone?’

Beattie’s lover Max has given her a very special birthday present – a weekend away at England’s most exclusive health farm. But if he had known what was to happen there, he would have bought her a diamond instead.

For thirty-year-old Beattie, who has always fancied men, suddenly finds herself attracted to a woman – a woman twenty years older, cultured, privileged, a mother of four, a grandmother, even. Her initial infatuation erupts into a passion which threatens to take over her life as, desperately, she seeks admission into Elizabeth’s inner sanctum – her work as a psychotherapist, her family, her very soul.

Beattie’s long-standing ambition to establish herself as a journalist now becomes part of her obsession: if she can make her name, she will be more worthy of Elizabeth, more an equal partner. Max’s high status in the newspaper world means he can provide valuable help and contacts, but he strongly disapproves of ‘bloody shrinks’ and of Elizabeth in particular. The bizarre three-cornered relationship becomes increasingly explosive when Elizabeth falls in love with a man from her distant past, and the rejected Beattie reacts with murderous rage.

Wendy Perriam’s genius at putting ordinary people into extraordinary situations is seen to brilliant effect in this intriguing story of obsession, sexual confusion and, ultimately, redemption, as Beattie moves beyond jealousy to forgiveness and self-fulfilment.

About Wendy Perriam

Wendy Perriam has been writing since the age of five, completing her first ‘novel’ at eleven. Expelled from boarding school for heresy and told she was in Satan’s power, she escaped to Oxford, where she read History and also trod the boards. After a variety of offbeat jobs, ranging from artist’s model to carnation-disbudder, she now divides her time between teaching and writing. Having begun by writing poetry, she went on to publish 16 novels and 7 short-story collections, acclaimed for their power to disturb, divert and shock. " " " " She has also written extensively for newspapers and magazines, and was a regular contributor to radio programmes such as Stop the Week and Fourth Column. " " " " Perriam feels that her many conflicting life experiences – strict convent-school discipline and swinging-sixties wildness, marriage and divorce, infertility and motherhood, 9-to-5 conformity and periodic Bedlam – have helped shape her as a writer. ‘Writing allows for shadow-selves. I’m both the staid conformist matron and the slag; the well-organised author toiling at her desk and the madwoman shrieking in a straitjacket.’

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Books by Wendy Perriam

Absinthe For Elevenses
Absinthe For Elevenses
Cuckoo
Cuckoo
After Purple
After Purple
Born of Woman
Born of Woman
The Stillness The Dancing
The Stillness The Dancing
Devils, for a change
Devils, for a change
Fifty-Minute Hour
Fifty-Minute Hour
Bird Inside
Bird Inside
Michael, Michael
Michael, Michael
Breaking and Entering
Breaking and Entering
Second Skin
Second Skin
Tread Softly
Tread Softly
Sin City
Sin City