Review: The Sealed Letter

The Sealed Letter
The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been emersed in the world of The Sealed Letter for about a week, all victorian dresses, clandestine romance and nasty gossip. It also has that clever Emma Donoghue trick of taking real life newspaper headlines from the past and building a fantastic reality based fiction around it. I was interested in the story of Helen and Fido, Helen the passionate and, for the times, free loving and unfaithful wife. Fido the campaigner for women’s rights who believes blindly in Helen and worships her unwaveringly until the end.
The story made me think about how many changes there have been to the role of women in society, the laws of divorce, for one thing, divorce was very new at the time and the awful treatment of the ‘fallen woman’ was really rather horrific compared to today’s standards.
The story moves quite slowly at times but was always enjoyable, I liked all the characters but most particularly Fido as she struggles to deal with her manipulative friend and finds out truths about herself. I particularly smiled that her cure for asthma was smoking, as recommended by her doctor.

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