"The Sunday Times has called Martin Boyd a 'more graceful Australian Galsworthy', and his novels of families in Australia and England have been compared to The Forsyte Saga.
"Lucinda Brayford, the most widely-praised of his books, is the story of three generations of an Anglo-Australian family around the turn of the century.
"Lucinda's grandfather is forced to leave England in disgrace, and settles in Australia. His son Fred takes over the management of a run-down station in the Riverina, where his tenacity in the face of adverse conditions eventually makes him a wealthy man.
"The Vanes buy "Turella", one of the finest houses in Toorak, where Melba sings and the cream of Melbourne society gathers for garden parties.
"At Government House, Lucinda meets Captain Hugo Brayford, the new A.D.C. and in what seems to everybody to be a perfect match, they are married and leave for England.
"Here the whole course of Lucinda's life changes. Her marriage founders and her former life of ease and wealth is replaced by wartime auterity. She becomes a troubled and ultimately tragic figure.
"Martin Boyd's novel is not only a profound and sensitive study of a woman's life but a brilliant reconstruction of two contrasting societies.
"Lucinda Brayford has been compared to Of Human Bondage: 'wise, highly civilised, enthralling to read.' When it was first published in the mid-forties the English writer Richard Church called it one of the three great novels of the century. It has been a best seller in Britain and America selected by two major book clubs and published in paperback. This is the first Australian edition."
On a November evening in the middle of the nineteenth century, Mr William Vane, an undergraduate of Clare College, Cambridge, gave a wine party in his rooms. His guests as well as himself had that day ridden to hounds. There had been two kills and they were in high spirits.
A Mr Brayford, of Trinity, while singing a roundelay, let his cigar butt fall on to a spot on the carpet where Mr Vane yesterday had dropped and broken a bottle of scented hair pomade. No one noticed the burning cigar, but Mr Brayford was still sober enough to notice the smell of smouldering wool and smoking perfume."Gad!" he exclaimed. "What a stench!" A few minutes later he said" "Gad! I'm going to puke."
From the Lansdowne hardback edition, 1977.
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Last modified: October 24, 2003.