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Fair Exchange: A Novel
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Fair Exchange: A Novel

3.25  ·  Rating Details  ·  91 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
In the early 1800s in a small village in rural France, a peasant woman named Louise summons her priest. Fearing she is about to die, Louise begins her final confession to the bored cleric and reveals a lifelong secret involving a famous woman writer, a young English poet, and a wicked and unusual crime. Inspired by the lives and loves of the eighteenth-century pioneer of w ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 1st 2002 by Picador (first published 1999)
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Published in 1999 the story from the early 1800's is presented in a modern metaphor and an interesting read especially the way of life and survival for the era both in France and England, during the French Revolution. There might be more books focusing on the plight of women in that period of time but since this was a modern presentation one would have expected to read more detail, more depth to the story. The story of remarkable women Louise(the introducer to the remarkable story of two famous ...more
Sep 14, 2012 Noel rated it it was ok
“As a woman lies dying she calls in a priest to confess her sins. Instead of a brief confession she tells him a story that starts with her birth and wanders into the lives of two other women. These women have lovers in the late 18th century and give birth to baby girls. The are so fantastically ahead of their times, one talks about not caring about whether she ever married arguing that marriage was an outdated institution. Another character dreamed of relocating to a commune in Kentucky. In 1790 ...more
Jan 14, 2016 Sophia rated it liked it
What I enjoyed most about this was the depictions of everyday life in the late 18th/early 19th century, particularly for women in the lower classes. Making jam, cobbling together clothes and dowries, building soups out of nothing, the best place to pee...The whole layer of Mary Wollstonecraft and the Lake Poets, which was the reason I originally held onto this book, was not much more than a backdrop, but that's ok. As I'd expect from Roberts, this is a women's tale. The men are annoying, feeble, ...more
Not sure what I think yet; I was more impressed earlier in the novel than later, but I'm not myself sure why my opinion changed. There is a great bit about Annette's relationship with Saygood and what really happened and what was sayable to her parents that I want to quote when I do a real review. I liked the focus on women -- all the POVs are women's -- but especially on servants; usually everything is from the perspective of the person with the least power -- and sometimes the least investment ...more
The book was a bit of a slow start for me and it wasn't exactly a story I'd usually pick up and read, but I ended up enjoying the book more than I thought in the end.

Although it was set in the 19th century, it was written very modernly. Which was one of the things I disliked the most about the book. While there were definitely people during the 1800's who were very progressive thinking, I did find that the characters and narratives went too far in how they thought and held themselves. The narra
Anna Elliott
Apr 14, 2008 Anna Elliott rated it really liked it
This has a marvellous twist at the end which I really didn't see coming. Roberts writing style is precise and I enjoy books which feature actual historical characters. This was the first Michele Roberts book I've read and will certainly try more.
Jul 12, 2012 Alyson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well written novel which conveys servant life and life for single and married women in an historical setting, without being dry. Usually I'm not overly keen on historical novels but I enjoyed this one and it had a great twist at the end.
Nov 16, 2013 Janine rated it liked it
Much easier to read than I thought it would be and an interesting topic.
Tracey  Wilde
Oct 14, 2008 Tracey Wilde rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book. Surprising twist towards the end. I enjoyed it.
Jul 29, 2013 Sandy rated it liked it
Fine, but didn't rock my world.
Mar 19, 2007 craige rated it liked it
On the lighter side, but not too vapid.
Kirsti Dean
Jan 21, 2011 Kirsti Dean rated it liked it
Very Eastenders!
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Michèle Brigitte Roberts is the author of fifteen novels, including Ignorance which was nominated for the Women's Prize for Fiction and Daughters of the House which won the W.H. Smith Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Her memoir Paper Houses was BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week in June 2007. She has also published poetry and short stories, most recently collected in Mud: Stori ...more
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