“Once I was rich, once I was poor.” John Holland finds himself ruined when his father’s bank collapses as a result of fraud and speculation. Forced to give up his life of leisure, and his dream of writing the first truly modern novel, John accepts a position as secretary to Sir Sidney Althane, a famous man of letters and the owner of Sutton Hall.
Having found such a prestigious job and out of penury, one would expect John to feel relieved, yet his hurt pride and social insecurity keep casting their shadow. Life brightens when he falls in love with Roz, niece to the artistically gifted Lady Althane. As time progresses, however, John increasingly gets the feeling that the people at Sutton Hall harbour some strange secrets.
For instance, why does Roz’s history seem so obscure? Also, both Sir Sidney and his son, the flamboyant and loveable Cedric, seem oddly reticent about The Knight of the Yellow Lands, the medieval romance which Sir Sidney recovered from his collection of ancient manuscripts, whose original is hidden at the Hall somewhere. Last but not least, John discovers that Sir Sidney’s unconventional approach to creating a historiography of ten English kings is perhaps not so harmless as it seems.
Written in the tradition of the Victorian novel, and echoing many themes of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, The Long and the Short of It is both a historical and a modern work of fiction. To read this novel, please use the links below.