Alfred Gibson’s funeral has taken place at Westminster Abbey, and Dorothea, his wife of 20 years, has not been invited. The Great Man’s will favours his children and a clandestine mistress over his estranged wife. Dorothea is left only with the comforts of her feisty youngest daughter Kitty, whose attempts to demonise her father challenges Dorothea’s memories. When an invitation for a private audience with Queen Victoria arrives, she begins to examine her own life more closely.
Dorothea revisits their courtship, early days of nuptial pleasure and domestic family fun-before the birth of too many children sapped her vitality. But she also uncovers the frighteningly hypnotic power of this celebrity author. Now Dodo will need to face her grown-up children, and worse, her dual nemesis of ten years before, her redoubtable younger sister Sissy and the charming actress Miss Ricketts.