At thirty-nine, Liberty Turner, mother of an illegitimate and nearly grown-up son, and daughter of a flamboyant father who had never grown up, realised that she had no talent. Once, in more prosperous times, her books had been published. Now, as relentless rejections pulverised her every effort, she faced up to the whimsical truth that while she was absolutely bursting with the creative urge, the talent just wasn't there.
But as she began to observe her friends and neighbours in the village of Tollymead (not quite the idyllic community that everyone wished it was) she noticed that there were different kinds of creations. Evelyn Brooke, her eccentric and idealistic neighbour, chained herself to condemned oak trees and fought against polluters of the countryside. The vicar, resenting his congregation of middle-class - apparently - well adjusted parishioners, sought longingly for a real social problem to deal with. Even Nancy Sanderson, magistrate and secretary of the Women's League, was eventually to revolt against her life style and create something of her own.
As Liberty stoically continued her progress through harvest lunches and creative writing classes, she waited for a rival creation of her own to emerge, and when Oscar Brooke moved into the village, she thought perhaps she might have found it.
Marika Cobbold was born in Sweden and is the author of six previous novels: Guppies for Tea, selected for the WH Smith First Novels Promotion and shortlisted for the Sunday Express Book of the Year Award; The Purveyor of Enchantment; A Rival Creation; Frozen Music, Shooting Butterflies and, most recently, Aphrodite's Workshop for Reluctant Lovers. Marika Cobbold lives in London.