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The Birthday Present

Barbara Vine: The Birthday Present (USA 2010)

From the Publisher:
Ivor Tesham is a handsome, single, young member of Parliament whose political star is on the rise. When he meets a woman in a chance encounter -- a beautiful, leggy, married woman named Hebe -- the two become lovers obsessed with their trysts, spiced up by what the newspapers like to call "adventure sex."

It's the dress-up and role-play that inspire Ivor to create a surprise birthday present for his beloved that involves a curbside kidnapping. It's all intended as mock-dangerous foreplay, but then things take a dark turn.

After things go horribly wrong, Ivor begins to receive anonymous letters that reveal astonishingly specific details about the affair and its aftermath. Somehow he must keep his role from being uncovered -- and his political future from being destroyed by scandal.

Like a heretic on the inquisitor's rack, Ivor is not to be spared the exquisitely slow and tortuous unfolding of events, as hints, nuances, and small revelations lay his darkest secrets hideously bare for all the world to see.

The Birthday Present is a deft, insightful, and compulsively readable exploration of obsessive desire -- and the dark twists of fate that can shake the lives of even those most insulated by privilege, sophistication, and power.

Barbara Vine: The Birthday Present. Three Rivers Press, ISBN: 9780307460479 (March, 2010), 336 p., $15.00.

 

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The Birthday Present

Barbara Vine: The Birthday Present (UK 2009)

From the Publisher:
It's late spring of 1990 and a love affair is flourishing: between Ivor Tesham, a thirty-three year old rising star of Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government, and Hebe Furnal, a stunning North London housewife stuck in a dull marriage. What excitement Hebe lacks at home, however, is amply compensated for by the well-bred and intensely attractive Tesham - an ardent womanizer and ambitious politican. On the eve of her twenty-eighth birthday, Tesham decides to give Hebe a present to remember: something far more memorable than, say, the costly string of pearls he's already lavished upon her.Involving a fashionable new practice known as 'adventure sex', a man arranges for his unsuspecting but otherwise willing girlfriend to be snatched from the street, bound and gagged, and delivered to him at a mutually agreed venue...

Set amidst an age of IRA bombings, the first Gulf War, and sleazy politics, The Birthday Present is the gripping story of a fall from grace, and of a man who carries within him all the hypocrisy, greed and self-obsession of a troubled era.

Barbara Vine: The Birthday Present. Penguin Books, ISBN: 9780141036212 (April, 2009), 323 p., £6.99.

 

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The Birthday Present

Barbara Vine: The Birthday Present (USA 2009)

From the Publisher:
Ivor Tesham is a handsome, single, young member of Parliament whose political star is on the rise. When he meets a woman in a chance encounter -- a beautiful, leggy, married woman named Hebe -- the two become lovers obsessed with their trysts, spiced up by what the newspapers like to call "adventure sex."

It's the dress-up and role-play that inspire Ivor to create a surprise birthday present for his beloved that involves a curbside kidnapping. It's all intended as mock-dangerous foreplay, but then things take a dark turn.

After things go horribly wrong, Ivor begins to receive anonymous letters that reveal astonishingly speci?c details about the affair and its aftermath. Somehow he must keep his role from being uncovered -- and his political future from being destroyed by scandal.

Like a heretic on the inquisitor's rack, Ivor is not to be spared the exquisitely slow and tortuous unfolding of events, as hints, nuances, and small revelations lay his darkest secrets hideously bare for all the world to see.

The Birthday Present is a deft, insightful, and compulsively readable exploration of obsessive desire -- and the dark twists of fate that can shake the lives of even those most insulated by privilege, sophistication, and power.

Barbara Vine: The Birthday Present. Shaye Areheart Books, ISBN: 9780307451989 (March, 2009), 323 p., $25.00.

 

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The Birthday Present

Barbara Vine: The Birthday Present (UK 2008)

From the Publisher:
Mention his name and most people will say, 'Who?' while the rest think for a bit and ask if 'he wasn't the one who got involved in all that sleaze back whenever it was...?'

It's late spring of 1990 and a love affair is flourishing between Ivor Tesham, a thirty-three-year-old rising star of Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government, and Hebe Furnal, a stunning North London housewifenbsp;stuck in a tedious, passionless marriage.nbsp; What excitement Hebe lacks at home, however, is amply compensated for by the well-bred and intensely attractive Tesham - an irrepressible womanizer with an appetite for self-advancement. On the eve of Hebe's twenty-eighth birthday, Tesham decides to give her a present to remember: something far more memorable than the costly string of pearls he's already lavished upon her, involving a fashionable new practice known as 'adventure sex'. A man arranges for his unsuspecting but otherwise willing girlfriend to be snatched from the street, bound and gagged, and delivered to him at a mutually agreed venue...

But when Hebe's over an hour late he begins to fear that something's gone wrong.nbsp; When he reads the following day's paper, he learns of the car crash that killed her.

Things get worse when Tesham has reason to suspect that the men he hired to stage the abduction might have been involved in something far more sinister, and potentially disastrous for him.

Set against the backdrop of IRA bombings, the first Gulf War, and an age of sleazy politics and even sleazier politicians, The Birthday Present is the gripping story of the fall from grace of a man who carries within him all the hypocrisy, greed and self-obession of a troubled era.

Barbara Vine: The Birthday Present. Viking, ISBN: 9780670917617 (August, 2008), 273 p., £18.99.

 

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