A BED OF ROSES by William Sansom


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A vicious entertainment describes the wayward course of an affair from its decline, in indifference and cruelty, to its unreasonable renewal some weeks later when the unworthy conduct of Guy Harrowby has only served to stimulate his attractions for Louise Abbott, who has been his mistress for four years. Louise turns a cold shoulder to his perverse if persuasive charm after he locks her in a closet, and then smashes some figurines for which she has a childhood, sentimental attachment. She leaves without him for Spain- with her friends- the Prescotts, but Guy follows her aboard ship and flauntingly pursues a younger girl, Molly, while for Louise there is the compensating attention of Michael Carey who offers her marriage. In Spain, Louise agrees to marry Michael, whom Guy hospitalizes after a scuffle and some disgracefully dirty fighting. Guy continues to trail them, discreetly, derisively, but it is the knowledge that Molly is pregnant, and that Guy is the unconcerned and unabashed offender, which reaffirms his desirability and Louise returns to him with an excitement she has never known with Michael.... A romance- which is compounded of caprice- and malice- and handled with the civilized expertise of his earlier The Face of Innocence.

Pub Date: April 29th, 1954
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace