I have a bit of a chequered history with Elizabeth Taylor novels. I found Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont to be an utterly depressing portrayal of ageing and I've often found an underlying unpleasantness in Taylor's characters, yet I loved Blaming.
Palladian is a variation of Jane Eyre with orphaned Cassandra Dashwood going to work as a governess in a ramshackle mansion house with a romantic idea that she will fall in love with her widower employer and indeed she does. The mansion is populated with her employer's bossy sister, hypochondriac mother, brother with a drink problem, the girl he believes to be his daughter and a know-it-all Nanny who bullies the cleaner. The dialogue between Nanny and the cleaner is highly amusing and cleverly written but I found the rest of the novel pretty bleak.
I'd like to read the Beauman biography because I'm always interested in the life of writers but I think I'm done with Taylor's novels.
On a more positive note I popped into the lovely Foyles bookshop at St Pancras station last week and found a biography I've wanted to read for a long time -clue is my author of the month. I also managed to resist the temptation presented by the Cath Kidston shop next door!