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Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore
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Birdcage Walk

by Helen Dunmore

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Helen Dunmore was a wonderful writer & so sad that this was her last book. A captivating story narrated by Lizzie Fawkes, who's married to Diner, a builder in Bristol during the period of the French Revolution. As events unfold, the story becomes darker & creepier as Diners past catches up with him. Gripping stuff with tremendous sense of place & time. ( )
  sianpr | Sep 23, 2017 |
Whether it’s the Nazi’s devastating winter siege of Leningrad in 1941 (The Siege), spies and Cold War drama in 1960s London (Exposure), or the effects of the French Revolution on the people of England in 1792, Helen Dunmore’s historical fiction enlightens and captivates. In her latest and sadly, last novel, Birdcage Walk, Ms. Dunmore chose the period of the French Revolution as her timeframe. John Diner Tredevant is a builder and land speculator. He has borrowed money to build a terrace of houses overlooking The Gorge at a most unpropitious time. His wife Lizzie is the daughter of idealists whose support of the French Revolution puts them in constant danger. As Diner’s business continues to fail and his debtors close in, his moods become more erratic and he questions Lizzie’s independence. His past begins to intrude on their present and as she finds out more, Lizzie begins to fear for more than their ability to withstand these financial blows to their future. Birdcage Walk is a dark and brooding book, most likely drawing its nature from the excellently drawn character of Diner. I had less feeling for Lizzie, whose innocence and immaturity I found grating at times. The conversations that take place at her stepfather’s house give good context to the current events of the period. Helen Dunmore provides an informative Afterword that explains her motivation behind this work, and an insight into The Siege and Exposure as well. When you read one of her historical novels, you come away with far more than a story. You’ve been given a segment of history. ( )
  bayleaf | Jun 21, 2017 |
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It is 1792 and Europe is seized by political turmoil and violence.

Lizzie Fawkes has grown up in Radical circles where each step of the French Revolution is followed with eager idealism.

But she has recently married John Diner Tredevant, a property developer who is heavily invested in Bristol’s housing boom, and he has everything to lose from social upheaval and the prospect of war. Soon his plans for a magnificent terrace built above the two-hundred-foot drop of the Gorge come under threat.

Diner believes that Lizzie’s independent, questioning spirit must be coerced and subdued. She belongs to him: law and custom confirm it, and she must live as he wants.

In a tense drama of public and private violence, resistance and terror, Diner’s passion for Lizzie darkens until she finds herself dangerously alone.
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