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The Shadowy Third tells the story of a literary love triangle, in which the 1930s novelist, Elizabeth Bowen, is a pivotal player.

The other two characters are the scholars Humphry and Madeline House, the author’s grandparents. Part literary biography, part family memoir, part social history, the book deals with the initial affair between Bowen and Humphry House and its unexpected consequences – in the work of Elizabeth Bowen, in the lives of the protagonists, and in successive generations of Julia Parry’s family. Using unpublished correspondence, Julia set out to discover the truth of the affair, this episode that casts a shadow across her family’s past.