An emotional, gritty family drama exploring the power of frustrated love and intense sibling rivalry - from the acclaimed author of ONE SUMMER and A WOMAN'S LIFE
One cool March morning in London, MP Leo Barr is told that his brother, Charlie, is dead. He has hanged himself from a chestnut tree in the grounds of a mental hospital. His family reacts in different ways. Charlie's mother, Imogen, sees no point in pretending that life is still worth living - he was always her favourite. Leo and his lawyer brother Roland fight, as they always have over Charlie. The fourth brother Ron, a Catholic priest, must break the news to Charlie's wife, presently in HMP Holloway.
In the days following Charlie's death the conflict builds among members of this diverse and complex family. Who really loves whom? What are the motives behind Roland's fixed antagonism towards Charlie? Is Leo right to put his career on the line? Above and between them all is the larger-than-life figure of Charlie. He follows no rules, not even about dying, and it becomes clear that his tragedy is only part of a web of mystery and deceit that connects them all.
As well as being a powerful human drama, LIES & LOYALTIES deals with gritty contemporary issues in today's Britain. It moves from parliament to prison, from church to mental hospital and from those who conduct the law to the outcasts of society. But at the heart of the novel is one family - divided by rivalry and frustrated love and forced, at last, to learn the truth about themselves.
Rachel Billington has published twenty novels and nine books for children, as well as several non-fiction works. She is also a regular journalist, feature writer and reviewer. She is co-editor of Inside Time, the national newspaper for prisoners and a Vice-President of English PEN. She has four children and five grandchildren and lives in London and Dorset.