The HoneymoonBook - 2016
Mary Ann Evans was an extremely plain young woman, a country girl, considered unmarriageable, who was forced to educate herself in order to secure her livelihood, and who became the most famous writer of her time. Overthrowing conventional religion and finding her own code of ethics, she was very much a woman both of and ahead of her time. In THE HONEYMOON, Smith beautifully integrates what is known about Eliot's life and explores, through Eliot's story, the notion of different kinds of love, sexual and platonic, of the possibilities of redemption and of happiness even in the midst of an imperfect union.
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"This novel imagines the course of George Eliot's troubled honeymoon, in Venice, with John Cross, 20 years her junior. After the death of George Henry Lewes, her true love and intellectual partner, she marries Cross with the understanding that the relationship, based on 'admiration and kindness,' will not be physical. Though Smith gets bogged down trying to fit in a full account of Eliot's life and work, she does well with invented incidents, such as a gondolier's aggressive sexual interest in Cross, and encounters with Dickens, Darwin, and the pioneering women's rights activist Barbara Bodichon, with who Eliot had a loyal friendship." - from "Briefly Noted", The New Yorker magazine, September 26, 2016, p. 75.
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