“Polly was all too aware that much of her time on holiday would be spent doing the laundry and the cooking and the child-care and all the other chores that back in London would be shared with her cleaning lady. A holiday with Theo and the children represented two weeks of domestic and maternal drudgery.”

“He loved Polly while never being in love – a condition he thoroughly disliked as bad for business and destructive of property, stability and conformity. No lawyer, and especially not a partner at Cain, Innocent, could believe in romance.”

‘” It’s like the stage set for Romeo and Juliet,’ said Daniel. ‘I can just picture her there, on that balcony where the Communist Party headquarters are.’”

“’Of course,’ Ivo said, ‘it’s so good to be in the real countryside where happy peasants toil to provide us with massively subsidised virgin olive oil, lifting their hats to wish one ‘buon giorno.’ So unlike the hideous British campagnia, or, for that matter, the American kind, all those endless flat fields of cattle and corn that actually feed people.’”

“Each morning the light came through the slats of the shutters in ripples, and as it washed towards the inhabitants of the Casa Luna it smoothed away memories of the past, It was for this that they had endured long hours in the grey English winter or freezing American climes, for this that they had worked and planned and worked extra hours/ The horrible feelings of stress, tension, anger and frustration that coursed through their veins every day almost unnoticed began to fade.”

‘“Mostly, what people mean by love is laziness.’”

‘“Love always makes a novel second-rate….It’s all biology. If it weren’t for two thousand years of the Christian tradition we wouldn’t think of pretending otherwise…Romance is the true opiate of the masses.’”

‘“It’s the remarkable thing about academics: they look at Shakespeare and always see their own faces in him.’”