Set in England in 1907, Impossible Saints is a novel that burns as brightly as the suffrage movement it depicts, with the emotional resonance of Tracy Chevalier and Jennifer Robson.
Escaping the constraints of life as a village schoolmistress, Lilia Brooke bursts into London and into Paul Harris’s orderly life, shattering his belief that women are gentle creatures who need protection. Lilia wants to change women’s lives by advocating for the vote, free unions, and contraception. Paul, an Anglican priest, has a big ambition of his own: to become the youngest dean of St. John’s Cathedral. Lilia doesn’t believe in God, but she’s attracted to Paul’s intellect, ethics, and dazzling smile.
As Lilia finds her calling in the militant Women’s Social and Political Union, Paul is increasingly driven to rise in the church. They can’t deny their attraction, but they know they don’t belong in each other’s worlds. Lilia would rather destroy property and serve time in prison than see her spirit destroyed and imprisoned by marriage to a clergyman, while Paul wants nothing more than to settle down and keep Lilia out of harm’s way. Paul and Lilia must reach their breaking points before they can decide whether their love is worth fighting for.
|Product dimensions:||6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)|
About the Author
Clarissa Harwood holds a PhD in English Literature with a specialization in Nineteenth-Century British Literature. In addition to being a proud member of the Historical Novel Society, Clarissa is a part-time university instructor and full-time grammar nerd who loves to explain the difference between restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses. She lives in London, Ontario.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This story is so true about couples even today, relationships seldom go on a straight line. The journey of any couple has ups and downs.
I just loved this book so much that it makes me swoony. IMPOSSIBLE SAINTS reminded me in some ways of Adam's Rib, one of my favorite Tracy-Hepburn films, only set in Edwardian England with a priest and a suffragette. While Paul and Lilia's prickly slow-burn romance kept me turning the pages, I especially appreciated IMPOSSIBLE SAINTS' deep world-building. I'd read that Harwood had spent twenty years writing this novel, and it shows—she has a real sense of intimacy with her characters, which can only come from taking the time to develop them fully and understanding the historical context in which they inhabit. Most of all, I was very moved by Harwood's richly detailed portrayal of the early suffragette movement, and reminded anew of the steep sacrifices first wave feminists made to ensure the rights so many of us enjoy today. I'm excited Harwood will be expanding the world she created with her next novel BEAR NO MALICE, which will focus on an important secondary character from IMPOSSIBLE SAINTS. Here's hoping Paul and Lilia will have a cameo in it!