Biogeek's Reviews > The Sealed Letter

The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue
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Apr 03, 12

Read in April, 2012

A book that delivers what the cover blurbs promise ... A page-turning drama packed with sex, passion and intrigue . There are times when I forgot I was reading a Victorian drama and mistook it for the latest salacious voyeurism from US politics, and other times when I thought I was reading another Jodi Picoult culminating in a full-blown courtroom drama. The insights into the gossip newspapers of the era, the early years of women's rights, and how quickly lawyers figured out how to win divorce cases were worth some of the slower parts of the book.

Donoghue endeavors to remain true to the historical evidence available in this early sex scandal, but the cost is that the characters remain less rounded than I would have liked. Helen fares the worst in this flattening of characters. 300 pages into the book, her response to the her maid's testimony in court, "By God ...I'll discharge the bitch tonight if it means I have to toast my own bread," characterizes her as a Victorian Marie Antoinette.

Recommend for the next long weekend.
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