Nicki's Reviews > The Sealed Letter

The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue
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's review
Apr 24, 2012

did not like it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, fiction
Read in March, 2012

I bought this book expecting a good story with a hefty dollop of Victorian scandal, but it's really a rather dull story, peopled with unlikeable characters. The story centres around the divorce of the well-to-do Codringtons in the 1860s. Helen, the scarlet woman at the centre of the scandal, is a selfish, manipulative woman, who cares not a whit for anyone other than herself. Even her affection for her daughters seems to revolve mainly around her own feelings and not theirs. Harry is Helen's husband and appears to live in his own little world. Then there's Fido, Helen's young friend, a prim, prudish woman, who is exceedingly stupid for a woman devoted to the cause of women's suffrage and doing business in a male-dominated world. She's also quite obviously in love with the flighty Mrs Codrington, who uses her time and time again for her own purposes.

I kept waiting for the story to heat up in any way, but it never did. The sealed letter of the title failed spectacularly to deliver any tension. I'm at a loss to understand why it sparked such curiosity in the author if this is the best explanation she could come up with. There is a small twist in the tail, but it's really barely a kink, never mind a twist. All in all, a thoroughly disappointing book.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Sarah Stiles I loved Room so I was really looking forward to this novel. I'm on page 141 and don't think I can continue... I can count the number of times I've quit a book on one hand! I don't understand all the rave reviews.

Nicki I'm with you on the rave reviews, Sarah. It's a mystery to me why people like this book. I've got Room, but I haven't read it yet. To be honest, this book put me right off reading anything else by this author.

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