A lovely, literary historical mystery!
I adored this book. I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked it up and in fact was a little disinterested in the first few chapters....but then it takes off like a rocket. It's the story of two researchers who are each experts on different Victorian poets. One of them finds a draft of an exceedingly passionate love letter in an old manuscript. Given that the poet in whose manuscript it was found is widely believed to have been happily married for 40 years, thus is launched a delicate mystery requiring careful unraveling. As this researcher follows the subtle clues and trail, he meets the other researcher and together they hold enough of the pieces to find the answer. It is so much more than a mystery--it is a feminist statement, it is an intellectual delight, it is a wry statement on human nature--it is a delicate jewel of a novel that I highly recommend.
This is one of my all-time favorite books. Part literary thriller, part romance. Reminds me somewhat of John Fowles' The French Lieutenant's Woman, which is another of my favorities.
Absolutely extraordinary. One of the best books I've ever read. Intelligent, compelling, unforgettable.
I loved this book! Byatt is a sophisticated, quirky, humorous, inventive and just downright interesting writer. I am now her avid fan, and find the range of topics she delves into impressive. Her research is impeccable, and her prose is so good that it seems inevitable. Highly recommended for readers who love depth in order to be engaged.
This is such a fabulous book! Graduate student Roland finds a letter to an unknown woman written by famous Victorian poet Randolph Henry Ash. Instead of turning it over to his professor, he decides to look into it himself. He identifies the woman as Christabel LaMotte and with the help of a professor who specialises in her writing, they set off on the trail of a literary mystery.
I guess this is really a literary romance - you don't know whether to be more gripped by the Roland/Maud storyline in modern times or the Randolph/Christabel story in Victorian times. It's put together so well, the clues to the denouement are all there, and towards the end it's un-put-downable!
A great book about the power of relationships and the importance of literature - both for those who write it and those who read it. This is one of my all time top 5.