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De verzegelde brief by Emma Donoghue
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De verzegelde brief (original 2008; edition 2012)

by Emma Donoghue, Inge Kok, Theo Scholten

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6344015,284 (3.53)129
Member:jiediebie
Title:De verzegelde brief
Authors:Emma Donoghue
Other authors:Inge Kok, Theo Scholten
Info:Amsterdam Atlas Contact 2012
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:roman, Londen Victoriaans tijdperk, scheiding, vrouwenbeweging

Work details

The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue (2008)

  1. 10
    Gillespie and I by Jane Harris (JoEnglish)
  2. 10
    Mrs Robinson's Disgrace: The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady by Kate Summerscale (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Kate Summerscale's book, Mrs Robinson's Disgrace, covers the details of an historical divorce case referenced in Donoghue's historical novel. Donoghue's novel is a fictionalised account of an historical divorce case of a similar sort to the one covered by Summerscale's book.… (more)
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» See also 129 mentions

English (39)  Dutch (1)  English (40)
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
I liked this very much. Well written and interesting, with believable sympathetic characters. Highly recommended. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
My expectations were low, but I ended up really enjoying this book. I liked it far more than I liked Room, in fact. The characters were well-drawn, and the milieu felt right. It's not a brilliant book, but it is a very solid, compelling, absorbing piece of historical fiction. ( )
  gayla.bassham | Nov 7, 2016 |
Fictionalised story based on a real divorce case with tricky female friendship and a marriage gone to rocks was a pageturner for me. ( )
  mari_reads | Jun 25, 2016 |


Very interesting. Really enjoyed knowing the events were real - especially the Draconian divorce laws - but wonder how much artistic liberty the author took. It seemed that she lacked information but also wilfully made it more titillating than it probably was. ( )
  ellohull | Feb 10, 2016 |
The Sealed Letter Emma Donoghue
★★★

464 Pages

Picador

Set in 1864 this is a fictional account of an actual historical event.

Emily "Fido" Faithful (the woman responsible for the Victoria Press and a leading light in the womans movement) is reunited with her friend Helen Codrington after a long absence during which time Helen has lived in Malta with her husband Admiral Codrington.

Helen is unhappy in her marriage and is having an affair with Colonel Anderson one of her husbands colleagues from Malta she seeks Fido's friendship to help cover the affair.

When the affair is discovered a nasty divorce case is started in which each side throws wild accusations at each other, how much is true is unknown, at the centre of the case is the mysterious sealed letter.

The novel contains actual extracts from letters and newspaper articles of the time and uses them as a basis to build the fiction.

This is an interesting insight into the position of women in the 1800's particularly with regard to the divorce law and the rights or lack thereof of a married woman to her own possessions and even her own children.
( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
In 1864, divorce was still rare in Britain (as elsewhere), and the real one that Emma Donoghue forensically reconstructs in her new novel was a national scandal. The wronged vice-admiral Henry Codrington and his sexually predacious wife were already magnets for the prurient. Add in, as a witness to the case, the famous feminist Emily Faithfull and veiled hints of lesbianism, and public horror knew no bounds.

Donoghue recreates grim 19th-century London – relieved by whiffs of exotic Malta – with vividness and authority....What could have been mere Victorian melodrama resonates here with emotional truth.
 
As with Donoghue's previous novels "Slammerkin" and "Life Mask," the plot is psychologically informed, fast paced and eminently readable (it compresses the timeline of actual events). Yet some narrative elements borrow too much from the 19th century. Exposition often comes packaged in dialogue, where it sounds artificial:....Good lines there are in abundance. And in the end, "The Sealed Letter" provides both the titillating entertainment readers like Helen and Fido crave and the more sober exploration of truth, commitment and betrayal Harry might appreciate. Donoghue's sympathy for all three of her central characters emerges through intimate narration and lifts the novel out of the tabloid muck, despite the public shaming Harry, Helen and Fido experience. There is, as Fido puts it, "so much to say, and little of it speakable."
 
Briskly written, deftly plotted and nicely ironic, The Sealed Letter falters only in the absolute gratuitousness of some of its period detail.... Some of the slang, too, looks a touch anachronistic. "Deb" is at least 60 years before its time. And would a well-bred woman of the 1860s talk about someone "walking out" of their marriage? None of this in the least detracts from the bounce and sparkle of The Sealed Letter's narrative line.
 
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Epigraph
Every woman should be free to support herself by the use of whatever faculties God has given her.

Emily Faithful, Letter to the English Woman's Journal, Sept. 1862
Dedication
Dedicated with love to my old friends

Grainne Ni Dhuill and Debra Westgate
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The last day of August, and the sky is the colour of hot ash.
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Book description
MISS EMILY 'FIDO' FAITHFULL is a woman ahead of her times, running her own printing press in Victorian London. She is distracted from her work by the sudden return of her once dear friend, the unhappily wed Helen Codrington. Before she knows it, Fido is swept up in the intimate details of Helen's failing marriage and obsessive affair with a young army officer.

What begins as a loyal effort to help a friend explodes into a courtroom drama muckier than any Hollywood tabloid could invent - complete with stained clothing, accusations of adultery, counterclaims of rape, and a mysterious letter that could destroy more than one life.

Based on a scandalous divorce case that gripped England in 1864, The Sealed Letter is a compelling and provocative drama of friends, lovers, and divorce, Victorian style.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0547247761, Paperback)

Miss Emily "Fido" Faithfull is a "woman of business" and a spinster pioneer in the British women’s movement, independent of mind but naively trusting of heart. Distracted from her cause by the sudden return of a once-dear friend, the unhappily wed Helen Codrington, Fido is swept up in the intimate details of Helen’s failing marriage and obsessive affair with a young army officer. What begins as a loyal effort to help a friend explodes into an intriguing courtroom drama complete with accusations of adultery, counterclaims of rape, and a mysterious letter that could destroy more than one life.

Based on a scandalous divorce case that gripped England in 1864, The Sealed Letter is a riveting, provocative drama of friends, lovers, and divorce, Victorian-style.

 

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:45 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Emily "Fido" Faithfull, a spinster pioneer in the British women's movement, is distracted from her cause by the details of her friend's failing marriage and affair with a young army officer, in this drama of friends, lovers, and divorce, Victorian style.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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