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The Model Wife: The Passionate Lives Of Effie Gray, Ruskin and Millais

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  395 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
Effie Gray was at the centre of Victorian England's most scandalous love triangle, involving two giants of the art world. In 1854, refusing to tolerate her increasingly abusive first marriage to John Ruskin, the leading art critic of the time, she requested an annulment. Later she was able to rebuild her self-esteem and reputation and to find happiness with the painter Joh ...more
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published October 2010 by Duckworth Overlook (first published May 1st 2010)
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(showing 1-30)
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Arwen56
Aaaaaaaaaaaaah, il Vittorianesimo … c’è mai stata un’epoca tanto ricca di contraddizioni quanto questa?

Il mio docente di letteratura inglese diceva sempre che ciò che i Vittoriani “sbattevano fuori dalla porta rientrava comunque, di soppiatto, dalla finestra”. Non per niente il “Dr. Jeckyll e Mr. Hyde”, di Stevenson, è stato scritto allora. Non per niente si coprivano le gambe dei tavoli, perché sessualmente allusive e, al contempo, fioriva alla grande la prostituzione. Non per niente la rivolu
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Roberta
Jun 18, 2015 Roberta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biografico
Al di là della competenza nella scrittura di Suzanne Fagence Cooper, la storia di Effie è effettivamente un romanzo.
Siamo nel regno della regina Vittoria, un'epoca curiosa e piccante più di quanto non si creda normalmente. La giovane Effie va in sposa a John Ruskin, critico d'arte sulla via del successo, ma non sarò mai felice con lui. Da questa narrazione il marito appare come un uomo incapace di lasciare la famiglia d'origine per costruirne una sua. Effie invece è una scozzese indipendente e
...more
Erin
A wonderfully written account of Effie Millais' life and a great depiction of what Victorian England must have been like.
Suzanne Fagence Cooper writes a story using Effie's Letters to and from her family and friends, her and her husbands diaries.

When I first picked up 'Effie' in Waterstones,I was expecting some great love affair-But it's more then that. It's the woman behind the two men she called husband. After finishing the book, I felt an acute sense that I knew Effie and I really felt for
...more
Maggie
Aug 09, 2012 Maggie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent look into the life of Effie Grey, who is primarily known for her marriages in the world of Victorian art. Cooper had unprecedented access to Effie's letters, generously lent by the Millais family. For the most part, Cooper makes excellent use of them as she untangles Effie's first, and rather troubled, marriage to John Ruskin. Ruskin's voice is so powerful and so authoritative even all these years later that it is a joy to finally hear Effie, to get her side of the tale. How ...more
Kittaroo
Apr 01, 2013 Kittaroo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amo Millais. Mi ha sempre affascinato la storia di come il movimento Preraffaellita si sia fatto largo in epoca vittoriana. Ed ho sempre trovato affascinante la sua storia d'amore con Effie Gray, prima Miss Ruskin, poi separata e nuova sposa dell'artista. Il libro è scorrevole, ma ricco di dettagli che illuminano al meglio il personaggio di questa giovane donna che non si lasciò sopraffare dalla morale e dai costumi dell'epoca, ma riuscì a conquistare il suo diritto ad essere moglie e madre appa ...more
John
This audiobook kept my attention throughout, but I felt the earlier, John Ruskin-centered passages were more interesting than the later parts about Effie's marriage to Millais and her children. However, with the audiobook, you don't get to see the pictures which I assume were in the book (it is in part about an artist and his models) and it is hard to judge whether the author is over-dramatizing incidents. I suspect, however, that much if not all of the description is supported by the parties' e ...more
Suzannah
Such a fascinating book about art and women in Victorian England. I would have liked to go more in depth in some areas, but I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Effie Gray, from her disastrous first marriage to her life as the wife, social secretary, and business advisor to the greatest painter of the Victorian age. Particularly valuable is Cooper's defence of Millais's development out of the PRB, though I could have done with much more depth.

A great book for any fan of Pre-Raphaelites, Victoriana
...more
Beeds
Apr 13, 2015 Beeds rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fluent, easy-to-read biography of this strong, charismatic woman. There are interesting insights into the role of the Victorian wife too and the business-like manner in which Everett Millais was forced to live his life.
Dana Loo
Una biografia straordinaria che ricostruisce, attraverso un epistolario familiare, nn solo la vita di Effie Gray ma anche quella di un'epoca, quella vittoriana della seconda metà dell' 800, piena di contrasti, di personaggi ed eventi eccezionali, il tutto con uno stile fluidissimo...
Hannah
Mar 25, 2016 Hannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story would never have been told if a lifetime of correspondence had not been preserved. What a fascinating life Effie had compared to the women of her day.
Gaia
Jul 04, 2015 Gaia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una biografia, non un romanzo, dettagliata e ben documentata. Uno spaccato della società vittoriana che non può mancare nella libreria degli amanti di questo periodo.
Michelle Long
Loved this book. Easy to read, engaging, not overly long, and well researched.
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
*Special Content only on my blog, Strange and Random Happenstance during "This" Summer: A Lauren Willig Theme Month for the release of That Summer (May 2014)

Effie Grey thought that in marrying the erudite author and art critic John Ruskin that she was entering a life of parties and soirees peopled by the elite of London. Instead this young Scotch girl entered a loveless marriage where she was repeatedly berated and belittled not just by her husband but by her in-laws as well. She suffered throug
...more
Rachel
I really enjoyed this book! The Pre-Raphaelites are one of my favorite periods of art, so I’m always glad to read a story related to them. Effie Gray was a beautiful educated young woman when she married art critic John Ruskin at age 19. Ruskin had become obsessed with her at age 12, but when he saw her on their wedding night, it was not what he had expected. I did some research on him after reading the book and it looks like he was not homosexual as some have suggested but may have been a pedop ...more
Lisa
Suzanne Fagence Cooper's Effie Gray is a biography on one of the central figures of a Victorian scandal. Effie was married to John Ruskin in what seemed like a promising match but what soon became a stifling, abusive marriage. She managed to get an annulment of the grounds of non-consummation, but doing so damaged her own reputation, at a time when reputation and standing ere everything. The only consolation is that Ruskin's reputation was damaged as well and unhelped by his own behaviour. Effie ...more
(P)Ila
Jun 12, 2015 (P)Ila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


Effie. Storia di uno scandalo è la biografia di Effie Gray moglie prima del critico d'arte John Ruskin e poi del pittore Everett Millais.
E' la storia di un matrimonio fallito, un rapporto già dai primi giorni complesso e insolito, un matrimonio mai consumato ma anche mai vissuto, non c'è quell'intimità o quella conoscenza che con il tempo si viene a creare tra due persone, niente di quello che ci si aspetta accade.

Effie ha solo venticinque anni quando decide di abbandonare il marito, ha ancora q
...more
Lia
Nov 23, 2014 Lia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stazione di King’s Cross, 25 aprile 1854. L’incantevole Effie Gray sta per partire e, in attesa del suo treno, sopporta ancora per poco il peso di una menzogna. Trascorrerà un breve periodo di soggiorno in Scozia, a Bowerswell, presso la sua famiglia. Un escamotage, in verità, della giovane Gray per sottrarsi al noto critico d’arte John Ruskin. Per quel giorno John ha sottratto con dispiacere del tempo ai suoi studi e assorto in profondi pensieri non sospetta affatto la fuga della moglie. Effie, ...more
*artemide*
In questo libro non viene raccontata semplicemente la storia di Effie, ma viene descritto un mondo!
Il mondo vittoriano che ruota attorno alla giovane Phemy, alla sua famiglia, a John Ruskin, a John Everett Millais e ai suoi compagni preraffaelliti. Non è solo un romanzo, ma non è nemmeno solamente una biografia.
Impariamo a conoscere la protagonista sin dalla sua infanzia e non la abbandoneremo più fin alla sua morte. Accompagnandola nella sua crescita, ci viene dato un perfetto quadro della do
...more
Annemieke Windt
Jun 05, 2013 Annemieke Windt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was one of the stories that stood out when I took a course in Victorian History at university, now twenty years ago. The story of John Ruskin and his wife Effie Graywho annuled their marriage because it was never consumated. At the time it seemed to sum up for me the strange relationship English Victorian society had with marriage and sexuality, together with the other story that a husband murdered his wife and afterwards wrote in his diary that she was 'with the Lord'.

Effie, the Passionate L
...more
Rebecca
Feb 27, 2016 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was really interesting. So much to think about - women's roles in Victorian England, the staggering size of families and surrounding issues, the marriage market, the social production of art, etc etc. Such a special time and a great choice of subject to get into it all: She was right in the thick of it, and an outsider simultaneously. Euphamia "Effie" Gray is a fascinating character, strong and quite sure of what she wants. Her first marriage could absolutely have destroyed a weaker woman. ...more
Mirella
Nov 13, 2014 Mirella rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the novel, The Passionate Lives of Effie Gray, author Suzanne Fagence Cooper takes us into Victorian England, Venice, Italy, Scotland, and into the heart of the scandal that haunted poor Effie her entire life.

Based upon a treasure of preserved letters, Cooper has recreated Effie’s life in great detail. The book is a comprehensive commentary on the life of this fascinating young woman who had been so shamed and berated because of her first husband’s neglect. I liked the fact that three possibl
...more
Bev
Mar 30, 2014 Bev rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very readable and fascinating account of two marriages and the contrasts between them.
As one of the husbands is John Ruskin and the other is one of Britain's greatest painters, John Everett Millais, the fascination is more than doubled.
I've read much criticism of Effie Gray and her influence on Millais and I had been inclined to agree with it, but this book did much to make me take a far more sympathetic view of her and to revise my ideas on the development of Millais as an artist.
I had to kee
...more
Kimberly Schlarman
Effie was what I had hoped American Bloomsbury could have been. Cooper successfully captured the spirit of the painters of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood while telling the story of an intriguing love triangle. I was already familiar with the story of Effie and her husband the writer and art critic John Ruskin. They never consummated their marriage and it was quite scandalous when Effie decided to divorce him. Cooper included some feminist analysis of the lives of early Victorian women and the im ...more
Helen
Oct 14, 2011 Helen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always knew there was something strange about Ruskin's marriage but I'd no idea how strange it was. This tells all the convolutions of that marriage and the joy of her real marriage to John Everett Millais. Effie was the eldest child of her parents who had 14 more, although only about half grew to adulthood. Effie (Euphemia) had a eight herself and lost a son when he was 20 and a still born child. As is the case with any large family it is sometimes difficult to keep siblings & offspring s ...more
Leslie
Aug 17, 2011 Leslie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Readers interested in Victorian lives or the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood should pick this fascinating biography of the much-maligned wife of John Ruskin, Effie Gray. Cooper uses Gray's own correspondence, journals, and those of her family to examine the scandal of her first, unconsummated marriage to Ruskin, the subsequent annulment, and her happier life afterwards with the painter John Everett Millais.

While many are aware of the scandal - usually characterized in passing in other works as a whi
...more
Gary Taylor
Oct 14, 2014 Gary Taylor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Suzanne Fagence Cooper has breathed an impartial view into the lives of Effie Gray, John Ruskin and John Everett Millais.
It was my visit to Ruskin's Brantwood that prompted my purchase of this book. A visit to Wighwick Manor yesterday had an original painting by Ruskin next to a portrait of Effie, quite an unusual choice in my opinion.
The latter part of this biography didn't live up to the affair between the three fascinating people, but it was a life connected with so many familiar figures. Cha
...more
Daphne Stewart
Nov 28, 2014 Daphne Stewart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had heard of Effie Ruskin and her marriage and subsequent scandal. This book explores Effies struggles as she marries one of the giants of Victorian times, then finds herself in a loveless marriage. It takes another giant of the Victorian era, Pre-Raphaelite artist Millais, to save her.

I enjoyed Cooper's book immensely, partly because I admire the Pre-Raphaelite artists and their works. To learn of the background of some favourite pieces was thrilling! What I didn't expect was to fall in love
...more
Neverdust
Dec 25, 2011 Neverdust rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
Definitely a very interesting story. I liked how Cooper tried to give the story from everyone's point of view and didn't quote the reference letters TOO extensively, though a few direct quotations certainly would not have hurt here and there. Overall, I liked it and genuinely felt as though I got to know these historical figures.
Personally, I love pre-Raphaelite art, and Millais' art, being one of the most popular artists of his time, is especially interesting when you have his history and fami
...more
Kate Mitchell
I think the main reason I enjoyed this biography of Effie Gray - Ruskin - Millais was because the subject herself was an interesting woman who led an interesting life. Suzanne Fagence Cooper tells the story rather well, making good use of Effie and her family's correspondence and occasionally imagining how Effie might have felt or acted at a particular moment. Definitely well worth a read for anyone interested in John Ruskin, John Everett Millais and the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood or indeed in E ...more
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Dr. Suzanne Fagence Cooper was educated at Merton College, Oxford, Christie's Education and the Courtald Institute before becoming the Victoria & Albert Museum Research Fellow at Buckinghamshire New University in 1999. Her involvement with the V&A dates back to 1996, when she was appointed curator, and in 2001 she co-curated the V&A's major exhibition 'The Victorian Vision.'

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