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The Madness of Love: A Novel

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The Madness of Love: A Novel Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

With a sophistication and mischievousness remarkable for a first-time novelist, Katharine Davies takes inspiration from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and raises the curtain on the interconnecting lives and loves of an unforgettable cast of characters. By turns comic and moving, The Madness of Love is a deftly woven tale of mistaken identity, bold moves, and unrequited desires.

Valentina, a clerk in a London bookstore, is still reeling after her twin brother broke a childhood promise and ran off without her to exotic lands. When she cuts her hair, masquerades as a gardener to the melancholic Leo, and moves to the remote seaside town of Illerwick, she perplexes even herself.

Leo dreams of restoring his estate's gardens to their former glory as a romantically naïve gesture toward the woman he's loved all his life: Melody, an English teacher whose beauty bewitches many others. Melody rejects any attempt at capture; she is locked in a state of mourning over the suicide of her dear brother.

As Valentina struggles with the decades-old neglect of flowers, plants, and weeds, her affection for her eccentric employer grows, even as she helps him plot his overture to Melody. The gardens must be made ready for a grand late-summer party. But between now and then, Illerwick will stir with old longings and new desires. As people fall dangerously for those incapable of reciprocating, we see, enchantingly, how our misguided pursuit of passion often distracts us from finding real love.

Review:

"It's love triangle within love triangle in this sly modern take on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Beautiful English teacher Melody Vye is the object of much affection in her Welsh town. Her student Fitch and her headmaster, Mr. Boase, both adore her, but most smitten is Fitch's piano teacher, Leo Spring, a childhood friend but decidedly not Melody's dream man ('His gestures, his flailing arms had embarrassed her. His hair had embarrassed her'). Hoping to woo her, Leo hires Valentina, a writer posing as a gardener, to revive his neglected grounds. Valentina, bereft after her twin brother Jonathan's departure on a 'solo voyage of rediscovery,' is surprised to find herself falling for Leo, who fails to see how it pains her when he begs her to play Cupid for him and Melody. The women bond over their losses — Melody's brother has committed suicide — but one misinterprets shared grief as love: 'It was a madness that grew inside her like the tendrils of a voracious climbing plant.' Between Melody's staging of the school play (Twelfth Night, natch) and the big party for Leo's revitalized garden, there's little question that everyone will find happiness, even if it's in unexpected ways. Published as A Good Voyage in Davies's native Britain, this debut has a subtle sophistication and lovely, lyrical prose, and will charm readers with its warmth and sweetness. Agent, Caroline Dawnay. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Besides providing light, sure-footed entertainment, The Madness of Love is an empathetic study of the confusing days of adolescence. Fitch's search for love is the most convincing plot in the novel, and — good news — it ends well." Taylor Antrim, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"The plot is grounded in true tragedy but, like Shakespeare's, is full of the light and dark comedies of infatuations....Both plot and style are deft and light but never saccharine. Highly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"The latest contribution to the long tradition of adapting Shakespeare's plays recasts Twelfth Night as a charming romantic comedy of contemporary manners." Booklist

Review:

"Davies' plot moves swiftly....It is gentle and engaging, and it may make you smile, but it won't make you laugh. Never mind that. Davies writes lyrically and creatively while showing appropriate respect for the Immortal Bard." Hartford Courant

Review:

"[This] ambitious debut...is certainly faithful and clever, but more than these virtues may be required for this work to hold its own as a novel....This is a tale that hums with metaphor but not with life, with the idea of enchantment rather than enchantment itself." Baltimore Sun

Review:

"As pretentious as its title suggests: an update that lacks energy despite all the 'madcap' confusion." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Davies has written a wonderful first novel about the lives of star-crossed lovers whose foibles and failings and mad, mad hearts stir up equal doses of trouble and passion. The Madness of Love is a lush tragicomic tale that is satisfying, smart, and oh-so-spicy." Connie May Fowler, author of The Problem with Murmur Lee and Before Women Had Wings

Review:

"Quirky characters, real passion, and a jaw-dropping masquerade — what more could a reader ask for? Davies's first novel is funny and heartbreaking by turns, a clever, modern take on Shakespeare, and the perfect introduction to a talented new writer." Darin Strauss, author of Chang and Eng and The Real McCoy

Review:

"The artifice of the whole conceit, this dextrous shifting between the plausible and implausible, is what gives [The Madness of Love] its hallucinatory quality; its texture of changeable taffeta." The Independent (U.K.)

Review:

"Davies is a very promising writer with an eye for a good image, and with the ability to cast a disturbing air of enchantment over proceedings." The Guardian (U.K.)

Review:

"[The Madness of Love] turns upon a genuine tragedy, but tinged with enchantment....[Davies has] a light, confident touch, and exquisite pacing." The Observer (U.K.)

Review:

"Davies admirably conjures up the wild beauty of Illerwick's coastal landscape...[and] what does come across rather well is a wistful sense of the end of youth." Literary Review

Synopsis:

With a sophistication and mischievousness remarkable for a first-time novelist, Katharine Davies takes inspiration from Shakespeares Twelfth Night and raises the curtain on the interconnecting lives and loves of an unforgettable cast of characters. By turns comic and moving, The Madness of Love is a deftly woven tale of mistaken identity, bold moves, and unrequited desires.

Valentina, a clerk in a London bookstore, is still reeling after her twin brother broke a childhood promise and ran off without her to exotic lands. When she cuts her hair, masquerades as a gardener to the melancholic Leo, and moves to the remote seaside town of Illerwick, she perplexes even herself.

Leo dreams of restoring his estates gardens to their former glory as a romantically naïve gesture toward the woman hes loved all his life: Melody, an English teacher whose beauty bewitches many others. Melody rejects any attempt at capture; she is locked in a state of mourning over the suicide of her dear brother.

As Valentina struggles with the decades-old neglect of flowers, plants, and weeds, her affection for her eccentric employer grows, even as she helps him plot his overture to Melody. The gardens must be made ready for a grand late-summer party. But between now and then, Illerwick will stir with old longings and new desires. As people fall dangerously for those incapable of reciprocating, we see, enchantingly, how our misguided pursuit of passion often distracts us from finding real love.

About the Author

Katharine Davies grew up in Warwickshire and studied English and drama at the University of London. She taught English for several years, including a period in Sri Lanka, before receiving an M.A. in creative writing. The Madness of Love is her first novel, and she is currently at work on her second.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780812973280
Subtitle:
A Novel
Publisher:
Random House Trade Paperbacks
Author:
Davies, Katharine
Subject:
General
Subject:
Deception
Subject:
Loss (psychology)
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Romance - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
January 11, 2005
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
8.58x5.72x.81 in. .63 lbs.

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Madness of Love: A Novel
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 272 pages Random House Trade - English 9780812973280 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "It's love triangle within love triangle in this sly modern take on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Beautiful English teacher Melody Vye is the object of much affection in her Welsh town. Her student Fitch and her headmaster, Mr. Boase, both adore her, but most smitten is Fitch's piano teacher, Leo Spring, a childhood friend but decidedly not Melody's dream man ('His gestures, his flailing arms had embarrassed her. His hair had embarrassed her'). Hoping to woo her, Leo hires Valentina, a writer posing as a gardener, to revive his neglected grounds. Valentina, bereft after her twin brother Jonathan's departure on a 'solo voyage of rediscovery,' is surprised to find herself falling for Leo, who fails to see how it pains her when he begs her to play Cupid for him and Melody. The women bond over their losses — Melody's brother has committed suicide — but one misinterprets shared grief as love: 'It was a madness that grew inside her like the tendrils of a voracious climbing plant.' Between Melody's staging of the school play (Twelfth Night, natch) and the big party for Leo's revitalized garden, there's little question that everyone will find happiness, even if it's in unexpected ways. Published as A Good Voyage in Davies's native Britain, this debut has a subtle sophistication and lovely, lyrical prose, and will charm readers with its warmth and sweetness. Agent, Caroline Dawnay. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Besides providing light, sure-footed entertainment, The Madness of Love is an empathetic study of the confusing days of adolescence. Fitch's search for love is the most convincing plot in the novel, and — good news — it ends well."
"Review" by , "The plot is grounded in true tragedy but, like Shakespeare's, is full of the light and dark comedies of infatuations....Both plot and style are deft and light but never saccharine. Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "The latest contribution to the long tradition of adapting Shakespeare's plays recasts Twelfth Night as a charming romantic comedy of contemporary manners."
"Review" by , "Davies' plot moves swiftly....It is gentle and engaging, and it may make you smile, but it won't make you laugh. Never mind that. Davies writes lyrically and creatively while showing appropriate respect for the Immortal Bard."
"Review" by , "[This] ambitious debut...is certainly faithful and clever, but more than these virtues may be required for this work to hold its own as a novel....This is a tale that hums with metaphor but not with life, with the idea of enchantment rather than enchantment itself."
"Review" by , "As pretentious as its title suggests: an update that lacks energy despite all the 'madcap' confusion."
"Review" by , "Davies has written a wonderful first novel about the lives of star-crossed lovers whose foibles and failings and mad, mad hearts stir up equal doses of trouble and passion. The Madness of Love is a lush tragicomic tale that is satisfying, smart, and oh-so-spicy."
"Review" by , "Quirky characters, real passion, and a jaw-dropping masquerade — what more could a reader ask for? Davies's first novel is funny and heartbreaking by turns, a clever, modern take on Shakespeare, and the perfect introduction to a talented new writer."
"Review" by , "The artifice of the whole conceit, this dextrous shifting between the plausible and implausible, is what gives [The Madness of Love] its hallucinatory quality; its texture of changeable taffeta."
"Review" by , "Davies is a very promising writer with an eye for a good image, and with the ability to cast a disturbing air of enchantment over proceedings."
"Review" by , "[The Madness of Love] turns upon a genuine tragedy, but tinged with enchantment....[Davies has] a light, confident touch, and exquisite pacing."
"Review" by , "Davies admirably conjures up the wild beauty of Illerwick's coastal landscape...[and] what does come across rather well is a wistful sense of the end of youth."
"Synopsis" by , With a sophistication and mischievousness remarkable for a first-time novelist, Katharine Davies takes inspiration from Shakespeares Twelfth Night and raises the curtain on the interconnecting lives and loves of an unforgettable cast of characters. By turns comic and moving, The Madness of Love is a deftly woven tale of mistaken identity, bold moves, and unrequited desires.

Valentina, a clerk in a London bookstore, is still reeling after her twin brother broke a childhood promise and ran off without her to exotic lands. When she cuts her hair, masquerades as a gardener to the melancholic Leo, and moves to the remote seaside town of Illerwick, she perplexes even herself.

Leo dreams of restoring his estates gardens to their former glory as a romantically naïve gesture toward the woman hes loved all his life: Melody, an English teacher whose beauty bewitches many others. Melody rejects any attempt at capture; she is locked in a state of mourning over the suicide of her dear brother.

As Valentina struggles with the decades-old neglect of flowers, plants, and weeds, her affection for her eccentric employer grows, even as she helps him plot his overture to Melody. The gardens must be made ready for a grand late-summer party. But between now and then, Illerwick will stir with old longings and new desires. As people fall dangerously for those incapable of reciprocating, we see, enchantingly, how our misguided pursuit of passion often distracts us from finding real love.

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