2012: 49. Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace

"In London in the summer of 1858, a court of law began to grant divorces to the English middle classes."

Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace, Kate Summerscale

Once I finished The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher I ran out and bought Summerscale's new book.  I wasn't disappointed.  Although this one wasn't a true crime book (unless you count adultery!), it was equally insightful about Victorian lives, and totally fascinating to boot. It's about Mrs. Henry Robinson, who made a bad (second) marriage, who fell in love with another man, who (probably) slept with him, and who had the bad sense to write about it in her diary.  When her husband read it, she became one of the first women in the new divorce courts - and her and her diary became a cause celebre.  And her story is pretty interesting (guess what feminists* - she gets screwed), but the way Summerscale tells it - and makes it not just a great story but a story about Victorian marriage - without losing the narrative or feeling preachy, is fabulous.  If I had to pick I'd say I prefered Whicher, but both books are tremendous, and Summerscale is one to watch.  

Categories:  Non-Fiction

*And I'm including myself there


© Carrie Dunsmore 2017