The Quality of Love

Ariane Bankes


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Duckworth Books
2 May 2024
ISBN: 9780715654989
288 pages

From the publisher

When her mother Celia Paget died, Ariane Bankes inherited a battered trunk stuffed with letters and diaries belonging to Celia and her twin Mamaine. This correspondence charted the remarkable lives of the Paget sisters and their friends and lovers, including Arthur Koestler, Albert Camus, Sartre and de Beauvoir, and George Orwell. 

Out of this rich archive, The Quality of Love weaves the story of these captivating and unusually beautiful identical twins who overcame a meagre education to take 1930s London society by storm and move among Europe’s foremost intellectuals during the twentieth century’s most dramatic decades. Above all, it is a sparkling portrait of the deep connection between two spirited sisters.

'[The Quality of Love] tells the story of Celia and Mamaine Paget and their friends and lovers, including George Orwell – and may prove a useful corrective to some of the claims made by Anna Funder in Wifedom, her recent book about Eileen Orwell' - Rachel Cooke, The Guardian

'Taking us from the high bohemia of 1930s London to the European intellectual scene of the 1940s and 1950s, Ariane Bankes weaves a story as spirited and alluring as the Paget sisters at its centre' - Antonia Fraser