I'm pleasantly surprised how enjoyable this book is. The last of Byatt's book I've read was Possesion and I couldn't get into its rhythmn. But this one got me addicted from the get go. I have to admit though that I used my quick reading mode more and more at the end of the book. I wanted to know right away how it would end, so I blended all the political and historical exposition to the background and read only about the characters. I'm sure I will read it again and even try to find out more the facts of that era, with my architectural background, I know some of the allusion and I could imagine the jewelry, pottery, and art they were talking about but not the social background.Just a note to myself, there are some dangled end here. I wonder what the story really is about Florence's convenient husband. I was intrigued about him ever since he said he was recovering from being psychoanalyzed. It was hinted that there was something more beyond his kindness to marry her to save her face, but until the end it was never clear if there was something or was not. Oh well, I suppose Byatt left it for each reader to draw their own conclusion.