4 member(s) found this review helpful.
I have read all of Tracy Chevalier's books. This one didn't measure up to the others. The story line was weak, chaotic and rambling at times. It could hve been so much more interesting. If you like period novels ,that take place in 19th century London, you will probably still enjoy this. She gives great discriptions of foggy old London and the poverty & misery that existed at that time. I just did not find as good and riviting as her other books. The ending was strange. I felt like she had a deadline to meet and just gave up on it. Too bad. This book had so much potential.
1 member(s) found this review helpful.
From Publishers Weekly
Author of Girl with a Pearl Earring, set in the home/studio of Vermeer, and other novels, Chevalier turns in an oblique look at poet and painter William Blake (1757–1827). Following the accidental death of their middle son, the Kellaways, a Dorsetshire chair maker and family, arrive in London's Lambeth district during the anti-Jacobin scare of 1792. Thomas Kellaway talks his way into set design work for the amiable circus impresario Philip Astley, whose fireworks displays provide the same rallying point that the guillotine is providing in Paris. Astley's libertine horseman son, John, sets his sights on Kellaway's daughter, Maisie (an attention she rather demurely returns). Meanwhile, youngest surviving Kellaway boy Jem falls for poor, sexy firebrand Maggie Butterfield. Blake, who imagined heaven and hell as equally incandescent and earth as the point where the two worlds converge, is portrayed as a murky Friar Laurence figure whose task is to bind and loosen the skeins of young love going on around him—that is, until a Royalist mob intrudes into his garden to sound out his rather advanced views on liberty, equality and fraternity. While the setting is dramatically fertile, there's no spark to the dialogue or plot, and allusions to Blake's work and themes are overbaked. (Mar.)
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