Heat Wave by Penelope Lively was first published in 1996.
Pauline is a middle aged lady, mother of Teresa who is married to Maurice and Teresa is mother of Luke who is a toddler. Maurice is a writer and is years older than Teresa. He’s wrapped up in his own writing career and really doesn’t even have much interest in his son.
Pauline works in publishing as an editor and she has moved out of London and has bought two adjoining rural cottages called World’s End. Originally she had rented out one of the cottages, but when Teresa and Maurice married Teresa was given the use of the larger cottage as a weekend retreat for her small family.
Maurice has decided that World’s End will be the ideal place to finish his travel book so Teresa has them as neighbours for the whole of a very hot summer. When Maurice needs help from a colleague, he and his girlfriend come to stay at World’s End off and on. It gives Pauline an opportunity to observe Maurice closely and she doesn’t like what she sees.
Pauline hasn’t liked Maurice from the beginning and unfortunately she was the one who introduced her daughter to him at a party in her London home. She has the horrible experience of watching her daughter fall for him and as Maurice reminds Pauline so much of her self-obsessed and serial philandering ex-husband she fears for Teresa, but is completely powerless to protect her daughter from what she knows is going to happen. It seems that despite having virtually no contact with her father Teresa is attracted to the same type.
This is a good read with for me a satisfying ending. I do like Penelope Lively’s writing and will be reading more of her books in the future. Nine years before writing this book she won the Booker prize with Moon Tiger.