Intensely autobiographical, The Orchid House describes a colonial society in decay as seen through the loyal eyes of a white family’s childhood nurse, Lally. Three white sisters return to their Caribbean island home to find their family living in poverty and mental anguish. Each sister responds to the family’s plight in different ways — seeking change through romance or politics or money.
First published in 1953, The Orchid House was republished by Virago Press in 1982 for Virago Modern Classic. It was later filmed by Channel 4 for a four-part series (1991) with Diana Quick, Frances Barber and Elizabeth Hurley (now available as a DVD).