Emma Donoghue was born in Dublin and lived in England for many years before moving to Canada. She writes in many genres, including theatre, radio drama and literary history, but is best known for her fiction, both historical (Slammerkin, The Sealed Letter, Astray, Frog Music) and contemporary (Stir-fry, Hood, Landing, Touchy Subjects). Her seventh novel, Room, won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Canada and the Caribbean region) and was shortlisted for the Man Booker and Orange Prizes. It sold more than two million copies. Donoghue scripted the film adaptation, a Canadian-Irish film by Lenny Abrahamson starring Brie Larson, which was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
London, England and Ontario, Canada
Date of Birth:
October 24, 1969
Place of Birth:
B.A. in English and French, University College Dublin, 1990; Ph.D. in English, University of Cambridge, 1998
The last day of August, and the sky is the colour of hot ash. Something rancid wafts on the air from Smithfield Market; the air glitters with stone dust. She’s swept down Farringdon Street in the slipstream of bowlers, top hats, baskets on porters’ heads. A hand lights on her arm, a small, ungloved hand; the brown silk of her sleeve is caught between plump pink fingertips. She staggers, clamps her pocketbook to her ribs, but even as she’s jerking away she can’t help recognizing that hand.
Contents i Prima Facie 1 ii Feme Covert 55 iii Reasonable Suspicion 89 iv Engagement 105 v Surveillance 123 vi Actus Reus 149 vii Desertion 163 viii Mutatis Mutandis 197 ix Counterclaim 219 x Subpoena 233 xi Trial 247 xii Evidence 285 xiii Sabotage 307 xiv Contempt 317 xv Charge 329 xvi Witness 337 xvii Verdict 363 xviii Feme Sole 371 Author’s Note 391 Acknowledgements 399
The Sealed Letter 3.7 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
I first discovered Donoghue back in 2000 when I read one of her best selling novels, Slammerkin. I was struck then by the richness of her characters, so well written that the reader develops strong emotions towards them. Most impressive however is Donoghue's historical research. The fabric, mores, culture and so much more of Victorian England are brilliantly and accurately portrayed. So is the case with The Sealed Letter. As in previous novels, the story is based upon actual historical facts and persons. We meet 'Fido' Faithfull, a liberal thinking spinster who runs her own printing press espousing her 'Cause'- Women's Rights. She meets up with an old friend Helen Codrington, who detests her older husband Admiral Codrington, and the restrictions society puts upon 'correct' female behaviour. Fido is drawn into Helen's world, but is naive and trusting. She offers true friendship, but due to Helen's machinations, is instead thrust unwillingly into the public eye in Helen's very messy divorce. This divorce case takes place in 1864, but believe it or not features a stained dress (sound familiar?), accusations of rape and a mysterious sealed letter that could decide the case. Donoghue captures the language, the emotions and the time period eloquently. The Sealed Letter is the third of a loose trilogy exploring Victorian society and life through the eyes of the different classes. Slammerkin explores the poor, Life Mask the very rich and The Sealed Letter the middle class. All are extremely enjoyable reads.
More than 1 year ago
I discovered Emma Donoghue after reading Room, which I loved. I purchased both The Sealed Letter and Slammerkin. The Sealed Letter was a delight. Completely engrossing historical fiction based on a true divorce case of the 1860s.
Juicy, gossipy, and a fun read.
More than 1 year ago
Emma Donoghue has done it again with this based on fact novel . Her in depth character development and attention to detail make for an enjoyable experience in delving into the mores of Victorian England . She takes the stuff iness out of what I was afraid might be a dull story.
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