This remarkable novel, first published to a chorus of acclaim in 1952, is one of the lost classics of Australian literature. Martin Boyd is a deeply humane novelist, a writer of family sagas without peer. Set in Australia and England in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, The Cardboard Crown presents an unforgettable portrait of an upper middle-class family who love both countries but are not quite at home in either. At the centre of this scintillating and immensely readable novel is Alice Verso, whose unexpected marriage to Austin Langton not only brings financial stability to the Langtons but founds an Anglo-Australian dynasty. But when her grandson finds her diaries and begins to uncover her story he chances on an intricate web of deception and reveals the complex fate of his family over three generations.
Martin Boyd's first novel, Love Gods, was published in 1925. Three years later The Montforts appeared, under the pseudonym Martin Mills. Following the international success of Lucinda Brayford in 1946 Boyd decided to return to Australia where he wanted to restore his grandfather's house, but by 1951 he was back in London. In the coming decade he was to write the Langton Quartet: The Cardboard Crown, A Difficult Young Man, Outbreak of Love, When Blackbirds Sing. In 1957 he went to Rome, where he lived and continued to write until his death in 1972.