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Fred and Edie by Jill Dawson
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Fred and Edie (2000)

by Jill Dawson

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160574,566 (3.53)20
  1. 10
    A Pin to See the Peepshow by F. Tennyson Jesse (Her_Royal_Orangeness)
    Her_Royal_Orangeness: Both books are based on the true story of Edith Thompson and Frederick Bywaters.
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Showing 5 of 5
The Thompson and Bywaters case of 1922
By sally tarbox on 31 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback
I couldn't put this novel down; it followed Edith Thompson through her 3 months in jail accused of involvement in her husband's murder. In letters to her younger lover-and accomplice -Frederick Bywaters, Dawson recreates their relationship and the romantic yearnings of a woman stifled in an unhappy marriage.
From early certainty that she will get off to an increasing and horrific awareness that death awaits them both:
'When I remember the summer we spent in Shanklin I picture that photograph we had taken on the beach, all four of us. Percy sucking on his pipe and Freddy squinting into the sun and me without a hat and you, you broad-brimmed and healthy, clutching at your white gloves. I try to keep from thinking this, but the thought won't stay away. That a year from now, of the four of us, only you will be able to look at that photograph again.'
Incidentally, just as good, if not better, is F. Tennyson Jesse's novel 'A Pin to see the Peepshow' which covers the same case. ( )
  starbox | Jul 10, 2016 |
I first became aware of Edie Thompson when I read some of her letters to Fred Bywaters in a book of love letters. At the time, I didn't realize this passionate, eloquent woman and her lover would be tried and convicted of the murder of her husband.

This novel incorporates some of her actual letters, (though few of Bywaters' as his to her were not found, and were presumed destroyed) and newspaper stories of the trial. The author has woven those together with some popular culture theories (both at the time and after) as to what actually happened. The result was an extremely readable novel. I listened to this on audio, and the reader was excellent. ( )
  bookczuk | Sep 24, 2013 |
This came in the mail last week, a BookCrossing bookring. I didn’t like it at first. Fred and Edie, I learned, are murderers. They fell in love with each other and Edie’s husband was in the way. The two teamed up to kill him and be free to be together. Of course, it did not work out as they had planned and both Fred and Edie ended up in jail for murder.Fred and Edie is based on a true story. Edie wrote letters to Fred and the trials of the two were heavily publicized; the author used these to create this book. The book is written mostly as letters Edie wrote to Fred, with a few newspaper articles interspersed in the story. Most of the letters are the author’s invention, but a few are actual letters written by Edie and all the newspaper articles are genuine.I liked the book more as I read along. Edie and Fred were not glorified in the book, nor condemned, but, instead, were revealed to be real human beings, doing things that were both good and bad. ( )
  debnance | Jan 29, 2010 |
This will be one of my best reads for 2008. Shortlisted for the Whitbread and Orange prize this is based on the infamous Thompson and Bywaters murder trial in 1922. It is a fictional version of Edith Thompson's life told in the form of letters which she might have sent to her lover and co-accused Freddy Bywaters from her cell in Holloway prison. This takes us through their first meeting to the physical realisation and beyond when Edies husband , Percy is killed by Freddy. The jury has to decide is she innocent or a conniving instigator. Whilst she awaits the verdict she writes these letters which will never reach her lover. The narrative is interspersed with actual newspaper snippets of the time.
Enjoyed the writing style and structure of this novel . ( )
3 vote jeniwren | Dec 18, 2008 |
Based on the Thompson and Bywaters trial in the 1920s. This is a competent re-telling but not in quite the same league as 'A pin to see a peepshow' by F.Tennyson Jesse, which has the edge. ( )
1 vote lizzier | Oct 6, 2006 |
Showing 5 of 5
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I heard him call out "Oh!" and he fell against me ...
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0340751673, Paperback)

In December 1922 Edith Thompson, a smart, bright, lower-middle class woman who worked in a milliner's shop, was tried for conspiring with her young lover Frederick Bywaters to murder her husband, Percy. The sensational trial, which took place in front of heaving crowds at the Old Bailey, unravelled a real life drama as exciting as any blockbuster: an illicit love affair, a back-street abortion, domestic violence, murder and a double execution. FRED AND EDIE draws together powerful threads between personal memory and public lives, between innocence and responsibility, and between fact and fiction. It is an exploration of a woman caught in the net of her own private fantasy and the conflicts of the era in which she lived, of her muddled attempt to defy convention and reshape her own destiny, and, finally, of the devastation she left in her wake.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:19 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Based on true story. In 1922, Edith Thompson and her young lover Frederick were tried for murder of Edith's husband. The sensational trial unravelled an illicit love affair, a back street abortion, domestic violence, murder and finally a double execution.… (more)

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