It’s late spring 1990, and a love affair is flourishing between Ivor Tesham, a thirty-three-year-old rising star of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government, and Hebe Furnal, a stunning North London housewife stuck in a dull marriage. What excitement Hebe lacks at home, however, is amply compensated by the well-bred and intensely attractive Tesham – an ardent womanizer and ambitious politician.
On the eve of her twenty-eighth birthday, Tesham decides to give Hebe a present to remember: something far more memorable than, say, the costly string of pearls he’s already lavished upon her. Years later, Tesham’s gift will ruin his career, his family, and his life.
Set amid an age of IRA bombings, the first Gulf War, and sleazy politics, The Birthday Present is the gripping story of a fall from grace, and of a man who carries within him all the hypocrisy, greed, and self-obsession of a troubled era.