The Sealed Letter

The Sealed Letter

[a Novel]

Book - 2008
Average Rating:
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Based on the details of a scandalous divorce case that gripped England in 1864, The Sealed Letter is a provocative historical drama that is strangely relevant to modern issues surrounding women, marriage, rights and roles. Miss Emily "Fido" Faithfull is a "woman of business" and a spinster pioneer of the British women's movement, independent of mind but naively trusting of heart. Distracted from her beloved cause by the sudden return of her once-dear friend, the unhappily wed Helen Codrington, Fido is swept up in the intimate details of Helen's failing marriage to the stodgy Admiral Harry Codrington. What begins as a loyal effort to help a friend explodes into a courtroom drama more sensational than any Hollywood tabloid could invent--with stained clothing, accusations of adultery, counterclaims of rape and a mysterious letter that could destroy more than one life. HarperCollins is proud to deliver Emma Donoghue's internationally celebrated work into the hands of discerning fiction readers in this, her first Canadian publication. The Sealed Letter is the perfect book to mark this milestone event--a masterpiece that brings the force of a life that changed our world into captivating view.
Publisher: Toronto : HarperCollins, 2008
ISBN: 9781554680368
Branch Call Number: DONOG
Characteristics: 396 p

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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.

k
KarenW
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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