by Emma Donoghue (Picador) ISBN 978-1-4472-0598-2
This story is indeed a glorious piece of Victoriana.
It’s well constructed and it’s also a great work of industry. I could well imagine a married woman who is married to a typical Victorian man, having to have affairs. The nail biting issue of “where” to meet and make love crops up all the time.
Helen, married with two children, never managed to get my sympathy and in the end reveals herself to be selfish and using her friends for her own gain. Her great friend who is unmarried and starting to get women’s independence off the ground is called Fido. In her mannish outfits she is the absolute opposite of her feminine flouncy friend Helen.
The court case at the centre of the story is a revelation of the times. My heart ached for the mother, Helen, who belonged body and soul to her husband, as did his two children, who were never awarded to her.
This is a page turner and full of secrets and lies so true to the Victorian age. The author describes his characters so well that you almost feel you would know them if you bumped into them. It is a long story but well worth it in the end.