The Sealed Letter

The Sealed Letter

Book - 2008
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Emily "Fido" Faithfull, a spinster pioneer in the British women's movement, is distracted from her cause by the details of her friend's failing marriage and affair with a young army officer, in this drama of friends, lovers, and divorce, Victorian style.
Publisher: Orlando : Harcourt, Inc., c2008
ISBN: 9780151015498
015101549X
Characteristics: 396 p. ; 24 cm

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wendybird Aug 21, 2017

An indie bookseller friend of mine commented (when she saw I was reading this), "oh - you are just discovering Emma Donoghue's backlist historical novels? They are just delicious -- enjoy them!!!
This particular historical fiction work is based on a real 1864 British divorce case that scandalized the country and filled the tabloids. The Lady Helen and Admiral Harry Codrington were calling it quits in quite a dramatic and public way, in an era well before marriage failures became common. Thrown into the mix is women's advocate and publisher Miss Emily Faithfull, a childhood friend of The Lady's.
There is no question Miss Donoghue writes solidly, beautifully, in fact : there were several times in the book's first half I found myself wondering, "wow- every single word choice is absolutely perfect!".
While I did find the back-and-forth narration and the case drag on a bit long, my admiration for the actual setting, characterization, and tone continued.
Fans of her later blockbuster "Room" may be disappointed, but readers of historical romance and period pieces will probably be delighted.

m
momoe
Aug 31, 2011

I love Emma Donaghue's writing and this was not an exception. It didn't have quite the appeal as "Room" or "Slammerkin" but I still found it really interesting.

placebo Apr 24, 2011

This book was okay but I found the plot dry.

g
GingerKaren
Dec 09, 2008

Based on an infamous divorce trial, this novel focuses on a friendship of two women, one, Emily, a single career gal and the other, Helen, a pampered wife. It is through Helen''s boredom and pursuance of exciting sexual partners that her eventual downfall happens. And when Helen''s husband deserts her, Helen uses everything in her power to survive a brutal divorce including her friendship in ever faithful Emily. Here''s the kicker - this isn''t a modern chicklit. This story is set in Victorian England and packs quite the punch.

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