Location: Reading Wednesday
We all know of the life and work of Charles Dickens, in fact two of my all time favorite novels Great Expectations and David Copperfield are the works of Dickens, born in 1812 in England.
Through out his very public life Dickens carefully crafted his persona as a gentile man of the Victorian era with a wife, family and a marvelous talent to create fictional characters and stories that would endure.
“Dickens is remembered as one of the most important and influential writers of the 19th century. Among his accomplishments, he has been lauded for providing a stark portrait of the Victorian-era underclass, helping to bring about social change.” – Biography.com
Front and center during his entire life as a man of virtue – Dickens was leading a double life for more than a decade, as he had a love affair with Ellen “Nelly” Ternen for the last thirteen years of his life.
With tenacious persistence Dickens and those closest to him managed to efface Nelly Ternen from public record and most all association with Dickens.
But talented biographer Claire Tomalin sleuths the facts like a well-heeled detective and brings convincing evidence to light about Nelly Ternen’s life, Dickens’ deception and how their affair managed to escape the public’s notice for decades.
A remarkable tale of both Victorian life for men and women as well as a brilliant story of research and persistence.
Four stars for The Invisible Woman by Claire Tomalin. Read last week’s review of A Place Called Freedom by Ken Follett.
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Location: Reading Wednesday
If you are one of our many faithful Reading Wednesday followers you will know that I adore Ken Follett. I’ve read several of his books. They are both marvelous as book in hand and on audible. My favorite Follett is Pillars of the Earth and I have recently also read Fall of Giants. And today I will share my book review of A Place Called Freedom by Ken Follett.
Like other Follett novels, A Place Called Freedom creates a chronicle of generations. Mixing historical facts, people and events with fictional characters and places – Follett brilliantly weaves his saga.
In A Place Called Freedom we meet Mack McAsh, a Scottish coal miners son, destine to a life in “the pit” during a period that begins in 1767. During this time miners are forced to a life of serfdom, once they begin working in the mines they must never leave. McAsh sees more for his life and eventually escapes and becomes a leader in the working-class discontent of the time.
Lizzie Hallim, a young woman of wealth and privilege who is expected to marry into the wealthy Jamieson family, owners the mines, lives a very different kind of life from Mack. But soon enough Lizzie realizes the hardship the minors endure and the reality she has been so blind to.
Lizzie eventually falls for the wrong Jamieson brother, exacerbating a hateful relationship between brothers and father and step mother.
A well written and believable cast of characters develops through the book during a tumultuous period of serfdom and slavery, wealth and prosperity, female repression and class injustice, creating a ripe opportunity for the characters to flee to the new American colonies and A Place Called Freedom.
Another wonderful novel by Ken Follett.
Four stars for A Place Called Freedom by Ken Follett. Read last week’s review of The Huntress by Kate Quinn.