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This was historical fiction about the romance between Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. It focused on her life, as the eldest of ten children of a tyrannical father, who forbade his children to marry.
Elizabeth began a correspondence with Robert as a fellow poet, as she had with other peers. Eventually they met once or twice a week, when her father was away at work. At age 40, she eloped with Robert and they moved to Italy, rather than face her father's wrath. He disowned her. They had one son. They were happy for about 15 years and then she died. Robert never remarried.
Being a woman in those times, she never would have been able to defy her father, except for the inheritance she had received from an uncle. This prompted her family to believe Robert had only married her for money. He did not.
I found it interesting, as I didn't know much about either of them, other than her famous poem, How Do I Love Thee? and that these two poets were married.
She was sickly, although I never could determine what her actual ailment was. She had developed an opium addiction, as her doctors thought it would ease her burdens. She also felt guilt over the death of her favourite brother.
It was at times hard to read, particularly their letters, which were written as long, run-on sentences with many commas, brackets, and asides. I suppose that's the way they spoke back then.
Following the story, the author adds a chapter by chapter summary of the things that were true and false. She then adds discussion questions and many of her love sonnets.
Publishers Weekly, 2009-04-20 The newest historical romance from Christy-winner Moser (Time Lottery) is an imaginative biography of the 19th-century Victorian poet Elizabeth Barrett on her way to becoming the wife of fellow poet Robert Browning and the author of the sublimely romantic sonnets from the Portuguese, of which the titular poem is best known. After her brother died in a sailing accident, the grief-stricken, sickly Barrett became a recluse who was spirited from her attic hideaway by Browning; the two wed and fled to Italy, and Elizabeth's control freak of a father disinherited her. The outlines of her life make a great story, but Moser is really challenged to make dramatic hay out of Elizabeth's recluse period. As a guilt-stricken Victorian invalid, Elizabeth leads a highly interior life, so the reader awaiting a grand love story needs patience. The name of her future husband doesn't enter the action until more than a third of the way into the book. Moser has done wonderful homework and shares snippets of what she found in an appendix. The text of Barrett Browning's sonnets are a true bonus. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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