It is an 'amiable' read set in the 1950's and centres on the life of Penelope who lives in a crumbling old ancestral home named Milton Magna.
Basically she meets Charlotte, who becomes her best friend, whilst standing at a bus stop. Charlotte invites her round for tea, so she goes, (who wouldn't follow up an invitation to tea by a complete stranger), at tea she meets Aunt Clare and Harry.
Before I go any further here is a list of characters:
Penelope - a teenager madly in love with Johnny Ray and she has big hands
Charlotte - another teenager madly in love with Johnny Ray, somewhat scatty but very intelligent
Harry - odd eyes training to be a magician, what a catch
Aunt Clare - she has scaly hands... it says so in the book, 'Aunt Clares tiny hand was as delicate as a budgies claw in my great paw' Penelope on greeting Aunt Clare for the first time.
Talitha Orr - Penelope's mother, very beautiful but has a pole up her rear desperately trying to hold it all together and figure out how to save crumbly Milton Magna
Inigo - Penelope's younger brother who wants to be like Elvis
Rocky - he's American, very rich and an agent in the music and movie business... wow what a coincidence maybe he could help Inigo out..yawn!
Marina Hamilton - another American portrayed as rather vulgar who it transpires is Harry's love interest and an alcoholic to boot
So do I need to go on, have you figured out the plot yet. Oh for heavens sake it's obvious, so obvious in fact that the writing talent of Ms Rice is actually wasted. She might as well have written a recipe book!
Here goes then, deep breath;
Penelope falls for Harry, Harry is in love with Marina, Charlotte and Aunt Clare put their heads together to get him together with Penelope, which he ends up doing after a bit of a chase. Talitha gets the pole extracted from her rear and falls for Rocky who is passionately in love with her, he arranges for Milton Magna to be burnt to the ground thereby setting her free of all the debt. And Inigo gets a recording contract in the States. Oh and Marina marries a sop called George and Aunt Clare drops dead in France leaving Harry her son a nice wedge of inheritance. Didn't see any of that coming? Well if you had read the book you would have by the second chapter.
I'm not entirely sure that in light of the transparent plot that the title is very apt. Hey ho, it passed a few soggy mornings travelling to work on the bus!