|Lita Morales, the sassy heroine of Louise Bagshawe's When She Was Bad, falls for Rupert Lancaster the moment she meets him, despite warnings that he's "strictly a four-F guy" ("find 'em, feel 'em, fuck 'em and forget 'em"). But he is also utterly, achingly gorgeous and not only is he "tall, dark and handsome", he's smart, charming and a Lord to boot. At first it seems that the exotic Lita has won his heart but when Rupert's court case to regain his country seat goes against him, he dumps her and leaves the country with $100,000 of Lita's money in his tailored pocket. |
His next victim is the feisty Becky Lancaster, the heiress to Rupert's English estate. Like Lita, Becky falls headlong for him, opening up her house (and her purse) to him as soon as he walks into her life. It's only when she tests his love that she sees the truly black nature of his heart.
Set against a Britain bound in industrial strife and a glossy, glamorous Manhattan, When She Was Bad follows the fortunes of these two women, who are unwittingly pitted against each other after they're betrayed by Rupert. Both stunningly beautiful, they're also "ball-busting wildcats" who will stop at nothing to destroy their rival. Extremely compelling, this novel explores the complex relationship between new and old money; the obstacles these powerful, beautiful women have to negotiate to survive in testosterone-fuelled careers and the difficulties they face being "brash New Yorkers" in a stuffy, class-divided 1970s Britain.
Louise Bagshawe's was the youngest ever contributor to The Tablet and "Young Poet of the Year" at 18 and took the commercial fiction scene by storm with her first novel Career Girls in 1995. Since then she has published several best-sellers including Tall Poppies, Venus Envy and A Kept Woman. --Jane Honey