Mrs Robinson's Disgrace: The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady
When the married Isabella Robinson was introduced to the dashing Edward Lane at a party in 1850, she was utterly enchanted. He was 'fascinating', she told her diary, before chastising herself for being so susceptible to a man's charms. But a wish had taken hold of her, and she was to find it hard to shake...In one of the most notorious divorce cases of the nineteenth century, Isabella Robinson's scandalous secrets were exposed to the world. Kate Summerscale brings vividly to life a frustrated Victorian wife's longing for passion and learning, companionship and love, in a society clinging to rigid ideas about marriage and female sexuality.
From the number one bestselling, multi-award-winning author of The Suspicions of Mr Whicher
Simply superb -- Alexandra Harris Guardian Extraordinary -- Phillipa Gregory Daily Telegraph Like her previous book, I was hooked after the first few pages. It's as good as non-fiction could possibly get -- Victoria Hislop Daily Mail Grippingly suspenseful ... Mrs Robinson's Disgrace displays a scalpel-sharp investigative mind, and it vividly conveys the immediate surroundings of the case, from the stench of the polluted Thames infiltrating Westminster Hall to the degradations of Victorian marriage, as evidenced in contemporary divorce cases -- John Carey Sunday Times Summerscale strikes nonfiction gold for the third time -- Daneet Steffens Independent on Sunday Summerscale's brilliance lies not only in recognising the power of a particular story, but in charting, with beautiful precision, its strange echoes and reverberations -- Craig Brown Mail on Sunday I'm all admiration: she has turned a sepia photograph, curling and tattered, into a film that runs through the mind in glorious and unimpeachable Technicolor -- Rachel Cooke Observer Mesmerising -- Boyd Tonkin Independent Told with dazzling detail and exquisite tenderness, this non-fiction tale reads like a perfect novel Elle Magazine Utterly engrossing -- Fanny Blake Woman & Home Riveting Metro Absorbing ... a rich and puzzled book -- Philip Hensher Spectator Summerscale puts this peculiar case in a wonderfully rich context of fads of the day ... Her courtroom reconstructions are vivid and enthralling, her research is impeccable and her narration coolly authoritative as she draws together what was happening around her subject and makes Mrs Robinson's volatile state of mind much more explicable -- Claire Harman Evening Standard Fascinating New York Times Book Review Marvellous Vogue A gripping account of Victorian wife Isabella Robinson and her cause celebre divorce trial Harper's Bazaar Meticulously researched -- Maggie Shipstead New York Times Sensational -- Vicky Allen Glasgow Herald Kate Summerscale has a knack for rescuing Victorian histories from obscurity and turning them into the most comprehensive books you're likely to find in any non-fiction section ... Thought-provoking stuff from a writer who, in putting the past in the dock, teaches us about who we are now -- Chitra Ramaswamy Scotsman Moving, compelling and brilliantly executed Dan Jones, Daily Telegraph, Books of the Year 20121124
Kate Summerscale is the author of the number one bestselling The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2008, winner of the Galaxy British Book of the Year Award, a Richard & Judy Book Club pick and adapted into a major ITV drama. Her first book, the bestselling The Queen of Whale Cay, won a Somerset Maugham award and was shortlisted for the Whitbread biography award. Kate Summerscale has also judged various literary competitions including the Booker Prize. She lives in London.