Set in England in different time periods, the love of a beautiful woman torments different artistic men with dreadful results for their mental states...but is the great art they produce worth the suffering? Can it really be the same woman? Where does she come from, and how can she possibly return? Very much a mystery story but with the author's usual supernatural overlays.
I keep having this feeling that the *next* book I read by Elizabeth Hand will be one of my favorite books of all time. But she keeps not-quite-getting-there, for me.
I did really like this book, however - it may be her best yet. (And, can't beat the cover art! [a Rossetti painting]).
The plot is complex and twisting, encompassing times frames from the Victorian to today, all dealing with the intersection of Faerie and our world, all featuring a woman of Faerie, powerful, beautiful and compelling, artists' muse, lover, femme fatale, who inspires the men she touches to artistic genius, but leaves them mentally broken, obsessed, literally 'burned.' Here, transcendence is always touched by the impure...
If someone asked me what this book was about, I honestly don't think I could tell them. It's like a multi-generational sort-of-love-story about artists, writers, love, sources of inspiration & creation... I still don't think I've completely grasped all of what 'Mortal Love' was about, and the ending did confuse me a little but... It's still a very fascinating & beautiful book. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys art history and/or romance stories.
I liked this book, it was very interesting and unpredictable.