Synopses & Reviews
From the author of the beloved New York Times bestselling novel The Little Book, comes a novel about a love that is capable of bridging unfathomable distances.
Recently returned from the experience of a lifetime in fin de siècle Vienna, where she met and tragically lost the first great love of her life, Eleanor Burden has no choice but to settle into her expected place in society, marry the man she is supposed to marry, and wait for life to come to her. As the twentieth century approaches, hers is a story not unlike that of the other young women she grew up with in 1890s Boston—a privileged upbringing punctuated by a period of youthful adventure and followed by the inevitable acknowledgment of real life—except for one small difference: Eleanor possesses an unshakable belief that she has advance knowledge of every major historical event to come during her lifetime.
But soon the script of events she has written in her mind—a script described by no less than Sigmund Freud as the invented delusions of a hysteric—begins to unravel. Eleanor Burden, at once fragile and powerful, must find the courage of her deepest convictions, discover the difference between predetermination and free will, secure her belief in her own sanity, and decide whether she will allow history to unfold come what may—or use her extraordinary gifts to bend history to her will and deliver for her the life she knows she is meant to have.
"Edwards's sprawling second novel, it turns out, is no less a puzzle than his bestselling The Little Book, and follows on its heels in time, as Weezie Putnam returns from fin-de-siÃ¨cle Vienna with a new name, Eleanor Burden, and a leather-bound journal that reveals 'forthcoming events well into the twentieth century,' handwritten instructions that she believes will determine her destiny. This mysterious 'Vienna journal' outlines a series of actions for Eleanor to take, throughout her life, that will make her not only wealthy but a crucial silent playmaker in world history, influencing the likes of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and William James, all while maintaining the facade of a Boston socialite and devoted wife. One of her most significant contributions involves financially backing a conference to bring Freud to the U.S. with the help of her godfather, William James. But Eleanor's personal triumph is securing a teaching position in Boston for a young Austrian named Arnauld Esterhazy, who becomes a mentor to her young son. But when Arnauld, 'swept up in the fervor' of WWI, disappears from her life (breaking with the journal's predictions), Eleanor's unwavering faith in the journal is shaken, and she heads to war-ravaged Europe just days after the armistice in a desperate search for Arnauld among the makeshift hospitals that house so many men destroyed by the war. Once again, Edwards has a good time connecting historical events and philosophical ideas, and also connecting this book to his first, though many of those threads remain loose until late in the narrative, and parts of the book feel verbose. But Edwards's bird's-eye view of the details of this momentous age makes this companion piece as much fun as his debut." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“The Lost Prince
can stand independently of The Little Book
… but why deprive yourself of the pleasures of reading both?” —Booklist
Recently returned from fin de siècle Vienna, where she tragically lost the first great love of her life, Eleanor Burden settles into her expected place in Boston society, marries a suitable husband, and waits for life to come to her. Eleanor’s story is not unlike that of the other young women she grew up with in 1890’s Boston, except for one difference: Eleanor believes herself to have advance knowledge of every major historical event to come in her lifetime. But soon Eleanor’s script of events begins to unravel, and she must find the courage of her deepest convictions, discover the difference between predetermination and free will, find faith in her own sanity, and decide whether she will allow history to unfold come what may — or use her extraordinary gifts to bend history and deliver the life she is meant to have.
About the Author
Selden Edwards began writing The Little Book as a young English teacher in 1974, and continued to layer and refine the manuscript until its completion in 2007. It is his first novel. He spent his career as headmaster at several independent schools across the country, and for over forty years has been secretary of his class at Princeton, where he also played basketball. He lives in Santa Barbara, California.