Alice Dickinson, a young advertising executive in London, decides to take time off work to research her idea for a screenplay: the true story of the scandalous, adulterous love affair that took place between a young, Amherst college faculty wife, Mabel Loomis Todd, and the college's treasurer, Austin Dickinson, in the 1880s. Austin, twenty-four years Mabel's senior and married, was the brother of the reclusive poet Emily Dickinson, whose house provided the setting for Austin and Mabel's trysts.
Alice travels to Amherst, staying in the house of Nick Crocker, a married English academic in his fifties. As Alice researches Austin and Mabel's story and Emily's role in their affair, she embarks on her own affair with Nick, an affair that, of course, they both know echoes the affair that she's writing about in her screenplay.
"Lyric and rich, this beautiful novel presents two love affairs more than a century apart, expertly stitched together by the unseen hand of Emily Dickinson. Through a small, intimate lens the novel explores blockbuster themes of love, honesty and fidelity. It is a rare and lovely book." (Priya Parmar, author of Vanessa and Her Sisters and Exit the Actress)
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