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Beautiful Liesby Clare Clark
Synopses & Reviews
Praised by Hilary Mantel, Amanda Foreman, and the New York Times Book Review for her verve and intelligence . . . [and] the originality of her imagination,” Clare Clark has become a rising star in historical fiction.
Elisabeth is among twenty-three girls who set sail from France for the new colony of Louisiana to be married to strangers. Although she has little hope for happiness in her new life, she finds herself passionately in love with her new husband, Jean-Claude, a charismatic and ruthlessly ambitious soldier.
But betrayal is as much a part of the new world as the old, and when Elisabeth finds herself deceived by her husband she also finds herself bound to a poor cabin boy in a way she never anticipated.
Clark creates a world that is both incredibly real and incredibly dazzling. And with the same compelling prose and vividly realized characters that won her widespread acclaim for The Great Stink and The Nature of Monsters, she takes us deep into the heart of colonial French Louisiana.
"Clark's fourth novel (after Savage Lands) offers an informative if disjointed portrait of the Victorian era, encompassing socialist politics, spiritualism, economic crisis, tabloid journalism, Buffalo Bill's Wild West, and family secrets. Maribel Campbell Lowe is the wife of an earnest MP, whose passion for the socialist cause puts his political career at risk. Maribel's photography hobby brings her into contact both with the Indians of Buffalo Bill's show and the growing spiritualist movement, whose members are fascinated by the possibility of spirits appearing in photographs, a sometimes accidental and often duplicitous practice. The core of the book is Maribel's personal history, a secret life she has hidden at the cost of losing her family. When a devious newspaper editor comes close to revealing her past, and destroying her reputation and her husband's career, bright, resourceful Maribel must take a stand. Individual vignettes — Maribel's photo studio, the lively spirit of the Wild West Show, her husband's involvement with socialism — will charm devotees of the Victorian era, but no meaningful connection between them is made, and the novel bursts at the seams as Clark struggles to wrap them up by the end. Agent: Clare Alexander, Aitken Alexander Associates. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From an award-winning novelist described by Hilary Mantel as "one of those writers who can see into the past and help us feel its texture," the story of the exotic wife of a Scottish aristocrat who is not what she seems, set against the backdrop of the cultured drawing rooms and emerging tabloid culture of late Victorian London.
“Clare Clark’s fiction manages to maintain historical accuracy even as it indulges in great storytelling and lush prose . . . A captivating fable of truth and memory, Beautiful Lies speaks to us quietly yet with strength.” —New York Times Book Review
London 1887. For Maribel Campbell Lowe, the beautiful bohemian wife of a maverick politician, it is the year to make something of herself. A self-proclaimed Chilean heiress educated in Paris, she is torn between poetry and the new art of photography. But it is soon plain that Maribel’s choices are not so simple. As her husband’s career hangs by a thread, her real past, and the family she abandoned, come back to haunt them both. When the notorious newspaper editor Alfred Webster begins to take an uncommon interest in Maribel, she fears he will not only destroy Edward’s career but both of their reputations.
1666: The Great Fire of London sweeps through the streets and a heavily pregnant woman flees the flames. A few months later she gives birth to a child disfigured by a red birthmark. 1718: Sixteen-year-old Eliza Tally sees the gleaming dome of St. Pauls Cathedral rising above a rebuilt city. She arrives as an apothecarys maid, a position hastily arranged to shield the father of her unborn child from scandal. But why is the apothecary so eager to welcome her when he already has a maid, a half-wit named Mary? Why is Eliza never allowed to look her veiled master in the face or go into the study where he pursues his experiments? It is only on her visits to the Huguenot bookseller who supplies her masters scientific tomes that she realizes the nature of his obsession. And she knows she has to act to save not just the child but Mary and herself.
About the Author
CLARE CLARK is the author of four novels, including The Great Stink, which was long-listed for the Orange Prize and was named a Washington Post Best Book of the Year, and Savage Lands, which was long-listed for the Orange Prize in 2010. Her work has been translated into five languages. She lives in London.
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