Daughters of Jerusalem by Charlotte Mendelson
She is sick of this - the sooty castles of the Banbury Road . . . She is sick of navy-blue corduroy, Gothic arches, famous fig trees, shabby dons' wives, cellars, rivers, genius children, stuttering and gold leaf. It is your fault, she thinks, approaching her husband's college, as she glimpses her neighbour, an entirely silent botanist, attempting to untangle his own beard from a hawthorn tree. None of you are normal. Is normal. And I am.In a shabby, book-choked house in North Oxford live the Lux family. Victor, a dedicated professor, is desperate to be elected to give the prestigious annual Spenser lecture. Jean, his unassuming wife, is tentatively experimenting with the boundaries of her marital freedom. Eve, an over-achiever like her father, is suffering from a dangerous teenage angst - straining to achieve top marks in her exams and yet always in the shadow of her younger sister, Pheobe, who is perfect, it seems.Into this climate of repression and bitterness there comes an unworldly don, Victor's b?te-noir, who shows interest in the vulnerable Eve. Meanwhile, Jean's best friend, Helen, has something she is yearning to tell: a confession that may alter everyone's constrainingly absurd life for ever.Daughters of Jerusalem is a captivating tale of hidden love and secret hatred, of the desire to belong and the need for escape, and of the fine line between wanting to be discovered and fearing the consequences when the delicious unknown becomes brutally exposed . . .