Oxford. May Morning. Pouring rain. Eighteen-year-old student Tessa Reeves has a close shave with death as Dr Michael Edwards comes hurtling round the corner in his scarlet MG. By way of apology, he treats her to a lavish breakfast in a country hotel, and over strawberries, steak and champagne, she first experiences his greed – a greed which later culminates in electrifying sex.
Tessa, from the wrong side of the tracks, brought up with no frills – and no father – by the irrepressible but decidedly uncultured April, feels overawed by the pressured mystique of Oxford. But the charismatic Michael boosts her spirits and her status, and fires her own ambition. He has been named after an archangel – the conqueror of Satan, the Prince of Light.
But it is darkness which descends as the affair turns sour, and Tessa searches in increasing desperation for her lost lover, and later for his surrogate and namesake, the suburban GP, Dr Michael Edwards, with whom she develops a bizarre non-relationship. Spellbound, her love becomes an obsession, and her question for Michael Michael takes over her whole life.
The novel comes full circle to May Morning the following year, and on this second fateful May Day, she finds her own fruition in an extraordinary consummation.
Tessa’s odyssey is the strangest and most poignant tale Perriam has ever told, yet recounted with all the exuberance and sit which have made her exceptional among contemporary writers.
‘Sex, retribution, madness . . . Wendy Perriam is back on characteristic form with guns firing.’ Val Hennessy, Daily Mail