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The Trumpeting Angel
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Book Synopsis

This is a story of love, scandal and murder, set in Melbourne in 1899. Susan Fairfax is a successful businesswoman and leading suffragette. Although beautiful and in her early thirties, she has never married, and shares a house with a female artist. She finds herself attracted to John Deveraux, a wealthy politician, but discovers that his wife died in mysterious circumstances a year ago. So she rejects Deveraux' offer of marriage. He takes his revenge by accusing her at the governor's dinner table of being a lesbian, and she sues him for slander. Is Deveraux right? Whatever the case, he seems to be growing slightly insane. The resulting legal action becomes linked with the efforts of his father-in-law to prove that Deveraux was responsible for his daughter's death, and Deveraux's increasingly desperate attempts to frustrate attempts to delve into his background. It emerges that at the heart of this gripping story lies one of the most common illnesses of the nineteenth century–syphilis–and the efforts of a powerful man to hide its devastating effects on himself and his family.

Book Review

Read for our f2f bookclub meeting last month, this book triggered a fantastic, full-table, sleeves rolled up discussion. Which is always a very very good thing.

Whilst overall personally I thought this was a pretty good book, and a particularly interesting one to be reading in the week when our Prime Minister decided to take on the Leader of the Opposition in a long-overdue calling out of his behaviour, there were themes in the book that really really resonated.

There were also aspects that were less successful, as pointed out by members of the bookclub, why was their a need to connect Female Suffrage with Lesbian themes? Another element of the book that really raised some discussion was the ending - whilst some readers felt it was satisfactory, there was another group who found it disappointing. A cop-out for the villain if you like.

But, regardless of the minor nitpicks and some of the things that really worked, a long, fruitful and fascinating discussion. Great bookclub book.

All Reviews of Books by this Author

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