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Vertigo: A Novelby Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Synopses & Reviews
In turn-of-the-century London, an exemplary Victorian wife begins a noble-minded project: writing letters to a lonely local prisoner. What happens next in this brilliantly crafted novel of literary suspense will change Emma Smith's life forever — and ignite a dark, erotic drama of suspicion, loss, and awakening.
In the year 1898, Emma makes a New Year's resolution: to become a better person. So, under the tutelage of her novelist husband, she begins an innocent correspondence with Chance Wood, a man serving his sentence for the murder of his wife. But from the beginning, in words that shock and intrigue her, Chance dares Emma to unveil her unspoken thoughts and desires. And when Chance receives a pardon, Emma is set dangerously free. She will use her freedom — and Chance's — to pursue the fantasies that have been swirling dizzily around her. Slowly, recklessly, Emma exchanges all that was familiar and safe for her new, dangerous double life. As the risks mount and a friend turns blackmailer, Emma cannot stop her fall. For once she has given in to her truest, basest desires, she cannot avoid the ones that come next.
"Baratz-Logsted (The Thin Pink Line; A Little Change of Face) breaks from her chick lit moorings for this entertaining novel set in Victorian England. On New Year's Eve, 1898, Emma Smith, the spoiled wife of novelist John Smith, resolves 'to be a better person.' John, who is researching a prison novel, suggests that Emma begin a correspondence with a prisoner to fulfill her resolution. The prisoner chosen for the project is Chance Wood, an enigmatic fellow serving a life sentence for murdering his wife. Emma, nave and vaguely unhappy, is intrigued and excited by the exchange of letters and soon develops a strong attraction to 'her prisoner.' She also begins to realize that she's tired of being a 'possession,' a revelation the author strains to make credible. When Chance is released from prison, he and Emma begin a torrid love affair and plot to kill John. Though the plan is executed without a hitch, Emma soon finds circumstances — and Chance — aren't as she expected. Fans of the 19th-century novel of manners will recognize Baratz-Logsted's characters and themes (though the sex is now graphic). If the plot is implausible and the characters unlovable, Baratz-Logsted still keeps readers guessing up to the end. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Complete with a few delicious plot twists and some unconvincing historical detail, this is very entertaining reading on a number of levels." Booklist
"Although the ending is somewhat predictable, the book has enough twists to surprise readers and is an intriguing examination of the struggle between appeasing human desire and acting morally correct." Library Journal
"Lauren Baratz-Logsted creates captivating characters and spins a cunning plot in Vertigo. I couldn't stop turning the pages of this fascinating novel." Margot Livesey, author of Banishing Verona
"Lauren Baratz-Logsted has tapped into the Victorian fascination with the social monster, and in Vertigo she concocts an ingenious chamber opera of a novel." Dave King, author of The Ha-Ha
Set in Victorian England, this novel of dark, erotic intrigue explores the power of obsession. Emma, wife of a respected novelist, begins a correspondence with a prisoner convicted of murder, and her innocent experiment leads to a dangerous web of lust and deceit.
About the Author
Lauren Baratz-Logsted was an independent bookseller for eleven years. She is the author of three novels, including her first, The Thin Pink Line, which launched Red Dress Ink's hardcover line in 2003. She lives in Danbury, Connecticut, with her husband and daughter.
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