‘The Robber Bride’ by Margaret Atwood

I’m looking to reread ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, and after I do, this may be next.

The Resident Judge of Port Phillip

robberbride1993, 576 p.

Set in Toronto, this book was published in 1993. Three female friends, Tony (Antoinette), Charis and Roz are having lunch together when another woman enters the restaurant: Zenia, a mutual ‘friend’ who was supposed to have died several years earlier. Each of these women has her own history with Zenia, a charismatic woman who variously lied, cajoled, blackmailed and bullied her friends.  The title comes from a Grimm Brothers fairytale ‘The Robber Bridegroom’ where a young woman was threatened by her betrothed and his gang of men.  In an inversion of the fairytale, Zenia steals the husbands and partners of her friends.

After a too-long opening section which places the three women at the restaurant, the book then turns to each of the friends in turn. Tony is a military historian, a rare woman in a male-heavy academic field, who sees the world through her historical consciousness…

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Desperate Remedies by Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy, anyone?

She Reads Novels

Desperate Remedies (1871) was Thomas Hardy’s first published novel, following an earlier manuscript which failed to find a publisher and was later destroyed. I love Thomas Hardy’s books and have been looking forward to reading this one as it has been described as a sensation novel, a genre of Victorian fiction that I’ve enjoyed since I first discovered authors like Wilkie Collins, Mary Elizabeth Braddon and Ellen Wood, in the years before I started my blog.

At the beginning of the novel, we learn that our heroine, Cytherea Graye, was named after her father’s one true love, a woman who disappeared without explanation and left him heartbroken. Mr Graye later married and had two children – Cytherea and her brother Owen – whom he raised alone after his wife’s death. When Mr Graye himself dies, having made some poor business decisions in the final years of his life, Cytherea and…

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