Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Book of the Week - Emma Donoghue, The Sealed Letter

Emma Donoghue is a well established Irish writer currently living in Canada, and best known here for her Booker prize shortlisted novel Room. The Sealed Letter was originally published in Canada in 2008 where it was joint winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction, longlisted for the Giller Prize and was a NOW Magazine Top Ten Book of the Year. However, I don't think it was published at that time in the UK. It has now been released as a hardcover by Picador and is receiving excellent reviews. Room may well turn out to have been Donoghue’s breakthrough book and it is certainly interesting to see her previous novel appear now with a strong publicity campaign. It has been added to my reading list I will be picking up a signed copy I can get one at cost.

"After a separation of many years, Emily 'Fido' Faithfull bumps into her old friend Helen Codrington on the streets of Victorian London. Much has changed: Helen is more and more unhappy in her marriage to the older Vice-Admiral Codrington, while Fido has become a successful woman of business and a pioneer in the British Women's Movement. But, for all her independence of mind, Fido is too trusting of her once-dear companion and finds herself drawn into aiding Helen's obsessive affair with a young army officer. 

When the Vice-Admiral seizes the children and sues for divorce, the women's friendship unravels amid accusations of adultery and counter-accusations of cruelty and attempted rape, as well as a mysterious 'sealed letter' that could destroy more than one life . . .

Based on blow-by-blow newspaper reports of the 1864 Codrington Divorce, The Sealed Letter, full of sparkling characters and wicked dialogue, is a thought-provoking mystery and gripping drama of friends, lovers and marriage."

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