Nelly and Hugo enjoyed a seemingly enviable life, with their three adorable little girls, their holidays at Nelly's beautiful family home in the Channel Islands, and their large, if disorganised, London house. Why, then, did Hugo feel increasingly inadequate? He began to wonder why Nelly had married him instead of Basil, their close ally from Cambridge days. Basil had instead become an indispensable family friend, and Nelly's demanding job as a hospital doctor seemed to overshadow Hugo's own successful but unremunerative career as a writer. His only function in Nelly's life nowadays, Hugo felt, was to babysit the children and keep an. eye on the erratic au pair. One day, in a fit of rebellion, he packed his bags and went to stay with Basil's mother in her peaceful Paris flat on the lovely Ile St-Louis.
Basil, meanwhile, was facing an uncertain future. Tied by loyalty to Nelly and Hugo, and with a muddled and ambivalent series of past relationships, he was at first reluctant to commit himself when he met Olivia, the self-confident young English art student living in Paris. While Hugo discovered how hard it was to escape from family ties, Basil was to find that friendship and love do not easily mingle.
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