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Letters from an Age of Reason
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Letters from an Age of Reason

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  154 ratings  ·  26 reviews
An eloquent debut novel set amid two historical hotbeds of racial tension, moral hypocrisy, and shifting sexual convention Miss Arabella Leeds, the high-spirited teenage daughter of a prominent New York family, and Aubrey "Brie" Paxton, the "high yellow" pampered house servant of wealthy French-American slave-holders, are destined to fall in love.

They are each bound for Lo
...more
Paperback, 656 pages
Published October 1st 2002 by Harper Perennial (first published 2001)
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4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  154 ratings  ·  26 reviews


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Barb
Dec 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Lacking A Sense of Authenticity

This book is presented as journal entries and letters. Arabella Leeds is sixteen years old when we first read her journal. Aubrey Paxton is a handsome young man raised in the south, we learn about him through the letters he writes to his grandmother.

I really wanted to love this book, it starts with a very interesting story of how a misunderstanding can seem to take on a life of it's own and how people's reaction to a misunderstanding can change the course of future
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Rosina Lippi
Jan 11, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was looking forward to this novel. I'm sorry I can't recommend it. I'm going to make a short list of things I think are important for historical novelists to contemplate, points where this novel went wrong.

1. If you want to tell your story in epistolary fashion, stay true to the form. Rarely do people recount whole conversations in letters using quotation marks and the conventions of fiction.

2. Letters are interesting because they provide a way to bring out the writer's personality in a way th
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Graceann
Jun 30, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction fans, patient readers
All the elements were purportedly in place for me to love this book. It contains a strong-minded heroine, an interesting hero, and was meant to be set out in epistolary form, one of my favorite fictional devices.

This is a situation where the interesting story is continually hampered by a narrative style that simply doesn't work, or is applied incorrectly, so much so that I almost gave up on it and actually finishing it took me 16 days, which is about ten days longer than usual for a book of this
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Laura
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a big fat novel published about 10 years ago. It had been waiting on my bookshelf and I finally got around to chosing it. I thoroughly enjoyed holding a real book for many hours over the past few weeks and living in the story. I really dont mind electronic books, but it was such a joy to read a real novel in book form. The story is a good one, and explores a number of taboo topics for the time period, which is pre and post US civil war. Not altogether believable, but great characters non ...more
Monique
Mar 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One will notice that a lot of historical research was done here. All of the characters pop from the pages - even the ones you won't like. The hero - a mostly white former slave who passes for white - is very likeable, and I particularly enjoyed his journey throughout the book.

I read this beautifully written story years ago, and although there are a few places where it seems to drag, I plan on reading again soon!
Faithe
May 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is not your typical civil war novel. Even though it is set during this turning point in American history, it isn’t focused on the battles, and barley focuses on the consequences or the war itself. None of the characters are fighting in the war, in fact, most of the novel takes place in France (and surrounding area).
There are two protagonists: Arabella Leeds, and Aubrey Paxton. The story is presented in their two different perspectives; Arabella writing in her journal, and Aubrey writ
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Todd Stockslager
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Review title: Pick the heart-healthy choice from the menu next time out
I have two pieces of advice for most first novelists:

1). You needn't say everything this time. Save some for your second time out. I can understand the pent-up desire, the great American novel pushing its way out of your pen, and the rush of worry that this might be your one and only chance if even this one makes it to print, so you must put it all in here. So here are nearly 650 pages of dense first novel from Nora Hague, an
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Erin
Jun 05, 2012 rated it did not like it
Ugh, I ended up skimming the last third or so of this book. For the first half or so, I really thought my main objections would be how drawn-out it was and the annoying restrictions of the epistolary conceit. But the final third was unreadably annoying, with the rapid switches of POV in the middle of scenes. Just! Switch! To! A! Narrator! Oy!

Arabella's story does take an interesting turn, but the whole book is so over-the-top and bodice-rippery that it doesn't really fit. (And the whole thing l
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Lynne
Aug 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book I'd had for a while. It has 2 narrators Arabella, a privileged society lady from New York and Aubrey, a 'high yellow' houseslave from New Orleans. Told through Arabella's diary and Aubrey's letters to his grandmother, it's a very long book, which does drag in parts, mainly those concerning Arabella, but Aubrey's sections are fascinating. As unlikely as it seems their paths do eventually cross and leads to serious consequences. It's a good book on the whole but think it could've lost a few ...more
April
May 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read this years ago as an "advance reader's edition". It has moved with me multiple times because I cannot bare the thought of getting rid of such a worthwhile read. I am definately NOT a fan of any "love story" but this one won me over. I am admittedly a sucker for the Civil War era and this is no "Cold Mountain" but well worth the effort of reading anxiously through it's almost 700 page bulk.
Jaime
May 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This was a very good book. The writing style was interesting — everything was in the form of letters and journal entries. Different fonts were used to indicate different authors. I got so wrapped up in the characters that I was dismayed when the story ended just as I felt it was beginning! I’m hoping her second book is a continuation.
Lizzie C
Dec 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book in a dusty box in the garage, when I was looking for something to do. The cover looked interesting so I started reading it. After the first few chapters I was hooked. I really enjoyed it. You come to really love the characters and sympthasize with what they are going through. Its a good read.
Vicky
Jan 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
I read this book many years ago. It was a very good read, with many plots and great characters. Here is a historical novel about American Civil War written with intensity, attention to detail and unexpected twists in a story. I remember that I enjoyed this book. I hope that the author has published something new.
Sarah
Nov 17, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The story and premise had a chance to be amazing but the ridiculously long "letters" made it hard to get sucked into the story. Later on in the book Hague goes the opposite direction regarding the multiple POV style by switching back and forth every paragraph, sometimes in the middle of a sentence, sometimes after one word. It became an incredibly frustrating read.
Sarah
Aug 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm so glad I finally got around to reading this one, because it was really good. I admit, I judged it by its cover and thought it might be stuffy, melodramatic or just boring but it was none of those things. Well written, engaging and great characters.
K
Aug 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It was a little weird at first because I would get drawn into Arabella's story and then it would switch to Aubrey's story. The stories were so different and disconnected at first but as the stories came together it was impossible to put the book down. A really great book!
Sherry
Oct 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Fast easy historical novel about the life of a slave.
stephanie
Jun 04, 2007 rated it really liked it
a total bodice-ripper, but yet, really good? yes.
Connie Bloch
Jul 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
While the story would have been just as good, probably better, as a narrative, it is a very good story that never moves too slow.
Cyd
Feb 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: friends
This was a great story, there were a few threads that did not get wrapped up in the end. Reaaly quite a bodice ripper.
Marie
Apr 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Sweeping historical saga with such plot elements as interracial romance, suffragettes, morphine addiction, and lesbian innuendo, it's easy to see her mentor was E.L. Doctorow.
Tania
Apr 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
I've read this a long time ago so I can't remember the details, but I quite enjoyed it at the time. A complete surprise since this was an impulse buy and I didn't know the author before.
Kristy
Sep 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good if you like any type of historical romance!
Molly Cashio
Jun 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
one of the only books that kept me alone and in the bed for 6 days straight.
Laura
Aug 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read_in_2004
great story about an interracial couple in the 1860s. the reader gets the perspective from a slave in LA and a society woman living in england during the civil war
Rae Gray
rated it it was amazing
Feb 26, 2015
Rach
rated it it was amazing
Jun 26, 2011
Erica
rated it it was ok
Jun 16, 2008
Mary-Anne
rated it really liked it
Dec 07, 2011
Jenna
rated it really liked it
Oct 12, 2012
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