by Elizabeth Jane Howard. Archie has something to tell Zoe which will break her heart - but neither of them knows who is returning to surprise them. The joys and sorrows of war have never seemed more acute than now. Dramatised by Sarah Daniels
Produced and Directed by Sally Avens and Marion Nancarrow
'Confusion' is the third of four compelling Cazalet novels by Elizabeth Jane Howard, which together give a vivid insight into the lives, hopes and loves of three generations during the Second World War and beyond.
As Elizabeth Jane Howard enters her 90th Birthday year, Radio 4 are broadcasting dramatisations of all four novels between January and August 2013.
You can catch up with series two, The Cazalets: Marking Time, on iplayer.
The third series is set between 1942 and 1945: For the Cazalet family the war has brought tragedy;
Rupert has been missing since Dunkirk and only his daughter Clary refuses to believe he is dead, whilst her step-mother Zoe has buried her hope and devotes her energy to bringing up their daugher, Juliet. At home, Sybil has lost her battle with cancer leaving Polly bereft and trying to comfort her father, Hugh. Even Edward seems wracked with doubt over whether he should give up his mistress, Diana, who is carrying his child and try and make a go of things with Villy once again. The younger generation seems as confused as their parents: Louise makes a hasty marriage to society painter Michael Hadleigh, giving up her dreams of being an actress, whilst Polly and Clary finally convince the family they can move to London, but the girls are soon to discover that independence and adulthood brings heartbreak of its own.
When Elizabeth Jane Howard began writing the novels her aims were modest. "I wanted to write about my youth, and the ten years that straddled the Second World War. I also wanted to write about what domestic life was like for people at home. A lot has been written about the battles and the war in a more direct sense, but little had been said about the way the whole of England changed. When the war ended, everybody was in a different position from where they were when it started."
Two decades later, Howard's quartet of books -- The Light Years, Marking Time, Confusion and Casting Off - charting the family's fortunes between 1937 and 1947 have sold over a million copies.
Martin Amis said of Elizabeth Jane Howard, "She is, with Iris Murdoch, the most interesting woman writer of her generation. An instinctivist, like Muriel Spark, she has a freakish and poetic eye, and a penetrating sanity."
A star cast includes Penelope Wilton as the narrator, Pip Torrens, Dominic Mafham, Naomi Frederick, Helen Schlesinger, Raymond Coulthard, Zoe Tapper, Alix Wilton Regan, Flora Spencer-Longhurst and Georgia Groome.
'Casting Off' follows in July.