Barbara Halliwell, on a grant at Oxford, receives an
unexpected package-a memoir by a Korean crown princess, written more
than two hundred years ago. A highly appropriate gift for her impending
trip to Seoul. But from whom?
The story she avidly reads on the plane turns out to be one of great
intrigue as well as tragedy. The Crown Princess Hyegyong recounts in
extraordinary detail the ways of the Korean court and confesses the
family dramas that left her childless and her husband dead by his own
hand. Perhaps it is the loss of a child that resonates so deeply with
Barbara . . . but she has little time to think of such things, she has
just arrived in Korea.
She meets a certain Dr. Oo, and to her surprise and delight he offers to
guide her to some of the haunts of the crown princess. As she explores
the inner sanctums and the royal courts, Barbara begins to feel a strong
affinity for everything related to the princess and her mysterious life.
After a brief, intense, and ill-fated love affair, she returns to
London. Is she ensnared by the events of the past week, of the past two
hundred years, or will she pick up her life where she left it? A
beautifully told and ingeniously constructed novel, this is Margaret
Drabble at her best.
San Francisco Chronicle
A deliciously evocative tale of palace intrigue...one of the most inventive works of fiction in recent memory.
Drabble's tale is a love song to literature, an illustration as to how reader and subject become intertwined.
Drabble's plain narrative tenaciousness gives her writing transparency and fire.
Engrossing and provocative: a scarlet narrative thread reminds us how magical the novel can be in telling stories and lives.
Nimbly jumping across time and around the globe, Drabble artfully stitches together the disparate strands of both women's lives with "a scarlet thread... of blood and joy." The voices of the dead reach out to the living, where the ancient and the modern "pass through one another, like clouds of bees, like distant galaxies... like the curving spirals of a double helix."
Booklist - Donna Seaman
Drabble is sleight-of-hand adept at slipping profoundly insightful musings on human nature, history, and social mores into scintillating and all-consuming novels.
Margaret Drabble was born in 1939 in Sheffield, England. Her father was a barrister, county court judge and a novelist, and her sister is the author A.S. Byatt. She attended the Mount School in York from where she won a scholarship to Newnham College, Cambridge to read English. She received a double first. After graduating from Cambridge she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford where she understudied for Vanessa Redgrave. She married the actor Clive Swift in 1960 and had three children. Following a divorce in 1975 she married Michael Holroyd in the early 1980s. The live in London and Somerset (South-East England).
She is the author of at least 16 novels and a range of non-fiction. Browse her complete bibliography at the excellent website: fantasticfiction.co.uk.
Trivia: Drabble's first husband, Clive Swift, plays the role of Richard, the long-suffering husband to Hyacinth Bucket (or should we say 'Bouquet') in the British comedy, 'Keeping Up Appearances'.
From the lush gardens of Versailles to the lights and gaiety of Paris, the verdant countryside of France, and finally the stark and terrifying isolation of a prison cell, Naslund brings the 18th Century, and Marie Antoinette, vividly to life.
Judge rules unused Borders gift cards to be worthless(May 23 2013) Borders owes nothing to holders of roughly $210.5 million of gift cards that had not been used by the time the bookstore chain shut down, a Manhattan federal...