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Yes, yes – I know that the official publication time is 9am, but I couldn’t sleep.  It’s not quite the star-studded, champagne-fuelled launch party as seen in “Bridget Jones’s Diary”; rather, I am sitting here in my dressing gown, with the cat willing me to serve her breakfast rather than fiddling about with that screen thing.  However, I am celebrating later today by having lunch with my godmother (although she doesn’t know that’s what we’re celebrating) and by giving a copy of the book to the curator of miniatures at the Wallace Collection – one of the inspirations for “Portraits of Pretence”.  Next week I will savour the delivery of ceremonial copies of the book to the University Library and the Cambridge Central Library; as I child I lived in libraries, and always hoped that one day I would contribute to as well as borrowing from their stock.

And so, lords, ladies and gentlemen, I declare “Portraits of Pretence” officially published!

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