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 a very literary book from a British author. It received rave reviews from The New York Times and other notable reviewers. Though it's labeled a "romance" it's much more than that. It's focus is on obsession by modern critics towards a dead poet and the lengths they'll go through for anything written or owned by that poet, especially is it's undiscovered. For those who love poetry and romance this is a great book. However, I only gave it a #7 rating since I'm not a great fan of 19th century poetry, obscure myths and romance. I found it difficult to read since I was pretty bored. It picked up in the middle (there are 555 pages!). I couldn't relate to the characters' obsession with this long dead poet. And there's a lot of poetry in the book, some of the poems are quite long, which I found myself rapidly skimming. But it is a highly literate book, a thinking person's book whose main appeal is to those who relate to the love of poetry and the veneration of poets.