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"He came to the house at the end of an overripe February afternoon. Years later, Clare would decide that the moment he chose - the stillness of sunset on a warm, candy-coloured evening - was by far the most favourable at which to arrive unexpectedly at a house of women. Perhaps he had imagined that soft fingers of light would paint his arrival in becoming gold streaks, and that the four female inhabitants would be sitting in gentle torpor, waiting for something to happen. And that's exactly how it was."
"Beauty was something Clare knew much about. Its power to make sensible people smile in a nostalgic way, or not notice that their handbrakes were released and their cars silently running down the hill, leapt at her wherever her family went. She had realised a few years previously, as somebody's well meaning grandmother fawned over Paulina and Margot at a birthday party, that she was the odd one out."
"Such secrets tended to leap out of her in front of him, things Margot would have hooted at and later poked back at her with sharp wine-coloured nails. things she would once have written in a diary, before Margot's unforgivable intrusion."
"It was a movie so clear in her mind that a part of her believed her mental creation was happening. She saw the hayloft, the dust whirling idly in the streams of sunlight falling through the roof, smelt the straw and the flower scent of her hair. She knew she was alone in the late afternoon, waiting for him, and she knew he would come. She turned to see him in the doorway, sunlight illuminating his outline in ethereal white fire. For a few seconds he was a blinding arch angel, but as he walked slowly towards her his face and eyes came into the light and he was smiling."