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The reissue of Joanne Harris's second novel, a consuming Gothic tale set in 19th century London
Joanne Harris is an Anglo-French author, whose books include fourteen novels, two cookbooks and many short stories. Her work is extremely diverse, covering aspects of magic realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy. She has also written a Doctor Who novella for the BBC, has scripted guest episodes for the game Zombies, Run!, and is currently engaged in a number of musical theatre projects as well as developing an original drama for television. In 2000, her 1999 novel Chocolat was adapted to the screen, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. She is an honorary Fellow of St Catharine's College, Cambridge, and in 2013 was awarded an MBE by the Queen.
Before she wrote more contemporary books like the wildly popular Chocolat, Harris penned this dark and haunting gothic, set in 19th-century London. It is the tale of puritanical, middle-aged artist Henry Chester, who buys child-beauty Effie off the street for a few pence. She is his vision of feminine perfection-passive, docile, innocent, unsullied-and he paints her in various poses of slumber and death. When she turns 17, he marries her and keeps her drugged with laudanum to repress her emerging thoughts and desires. The story is told in alternating chapters by Chester, young Effie, and Mose Harper, a fellow artist and Effie's roguish lover, which adds to the tension and haunting intrigue. Chester reveals his sexual obsession and volatile possessiveness, Mose his rapacious albeit cynical appetites for young Effie, and Effie her burgeoning passion for Mose and repulsion for her husband's hypocrisy and sexual proclivities. Readers of Harris's later novels will see glimpses of their atmosphere, sensuality, and elegant style. Highly popular in England when it was first published in 1993 and now making its U.S. debut, Harris's first novel will resonate with both gothic romance readers and fans of her later work. Highly recommended for public libraries.-Susan Clifford Braun, Aerospace Corp., El Segundo, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
"A hauntingly evocative laudanum-dream of a novel" * Time Out *