Two modern-day academics uncover a secret affair between famous fictional poets in A.S. Byatt’s gloriously exhilarating novel of wit and romance.

Maud Bailey is a scholar researching the life and work of her distant relative, a little-known 19th-century poet named Christabel LaMotte. Roland Mitchell is looking into an obscure moment in the life of another Victorian poet, the celebrated Randolph Henry Ash. Together, the two uncover a dark secret in Ash’s life: though apparently happily married, he conducted a torrid affair with LaMotte. As Maud and Roland dig deeper, they too find themselves falling in love.

The Booker Prize 1990
Published by
Chatto & Windus
Publication date
A.S. Byatt

A.S. Byatt

About the Author

A.S. Byatt is a novelist, short-story writer and critic of international renown. She was appointed CBE in 1990 and DBE in 1999.
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