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The Sealed Letter [Anglais] [Broché]

Emma Donoghue
4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
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Description de l'ouvrage

2 février 2012

Miss Emily "Fido" Faithfull is a "woman of business" and a spinster pioneer in the British women’s movement, independent of mind but naively trusting of heart. Distracted from her cause by the sudden return of her once-dear friend, the unhappily wed Helen Codrington, Fido is swept up in the intimate details of Helen’s failing marriage and obsessive affair with a young army officer. What begins as a loyal effort to help a friend explodes into a courtroom drama that rivals the Clinton affair —complete with stained clothing, accusations of adultery, counterclaims of rape, and a mysterious letter that could destroy more than one life.

Based on a scandalous divorce case that gripped England in 1864, The Sealed Letter is a riveting, provocative drama of friends, lovers, and divorce, Victorian style.

--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Relié .

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

PRAISE FOR EMMA DONOGHUE
"Either Emma Donoghue spends most of her waking hours in musty library stacks or she lives a previous life in 18th-century England. She seems to inhabit the place. This is wonderful, soapy entertainment, but Donoghue infuses it with something more."—Houston Chronicle

"Superb . . . Donoghue uses both the color of the period and its literary devices to create a rich, complex, and remarkably powerful story."—Elle

--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Relié .

Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 416 pages
  • Editeur : Picador; Édition : Open market ed (2 février 2012)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 1447212592
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447212591
  • Dimensions du produit: 17,6 x 11 x 3,2 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 9.258 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 lettre écarlate 15 mai 2012
Par Pascale TOP 500 COMMENTATEURS
Format:Broché
On a déjà vu plus passionnant comme prémices que le récit d'un adultère à l'époque victorienne et pourtant, Emma Donoghue parvient à élaborer sur ce seul thème un roman très plaisant à lire.

Basé sur l'histoire vraie de la procédure en divorce du couple Codrington, "The Sealed Letter" raconte l'histoire de deux amies, Helen Codrington et Emily Faithfull, qui se retrouvent dans les rues de Londres après une longue séparation. La relation d'Helen avec un jeune militaire aura des conséquences inimaginables pour les deux jeunes femmes...

Ce roman a le mérite de lever le voile sur un aspect intéressant de l'époque victorienne, à savoir l'impact tragique d'un divorce sur la vie d'une femme, qui se voit ainsi dénier ses droits de mère. Il est en outre assez fluide, avec des "rebondissements" (le mot est peut-être un peu fort) qui donnent envie de connaître la suite. Enfin, les personnages sont complexes, l'auteur évitant la caricature et les présentant de façon nuancée -le revers de la médaille étant que je n'ai vraiment adhéré à aucun d'entre eux.

Ma principale réserve concerne le dénouement, en ce sens que la couverture annonçait "a jaw-dropping ending"... et que j'attends toujours cette fin prétendument stupéfiante. Sans être particulièrement perspicace, je me doutais déjà en grande partie de cette fracassante révélation et le mystère de la lettre ne figurera certainement pas dans les grandes énigmes de la littérature.

Dans l'ensemble, "The Sealed Letter" est un roman bien écrit, intéressant d'un point de vue sociologique et qui constitue une lecture agréable sans être exceptionnelle.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 étoiles sur 5  44 commentaires
26 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Stunning, beautifully written novel 12 septembre 2008
Par Ellis Bell - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
The Sealed Letter is another one of those books I just couldn't put down--and then felt bereft when I finally finished it. Set in London in 1864, the novel is loosely based on a scandalous divorce case, and features facts stranger than fiction: a stained dress (sound familiar?), fabricated evidence, and scandal more scandalous than the sensationalist novels of the period. It's a novel in which supposed friends turn against one another, in which servants even turn against those they serve.

Helen Codrington is a wife and mother, born and bred abroad, who craves some excitement in her life. Never thinking of what might happen, she embarks on an affair with Captain David Anderson. Late in the summer of 1864, Helen runs into her old friend Emily "Fido" Faithfull, a crusader for women's rights, who's surprisingly... conventional, all things considered. When Harry Codrington finds out about Helen's affair, however, the lives of these three characters change drastically. The novel's point of view vacillates between Helen, Fido, and Harry.

It's a stunning, well-written book, which explores the way in which lies affect the lives of each of these characters. It's also a fair representation of mid-Victorian mores; although it's tough for us today to understand, divorce was much, much more scandalous and socially crippling in an era that placed a focus on the family and the woman's role in that family. It's strange, too, to a modern reader, the laws that governed divorce in 19th century England (for example, the two primaries were prohibited from testifying). Each of the characters is well-written, and Donoghue gets into the minds of each of the main characters with ease. She never tries to infuse this book with a modern sensibility. It's a compelling book that I couldn't stop thinking about between sittings and after I'd finished.

My only problem with this otherwise superb novel is the fact that the letters are all written in a cursive script that's hard to read. But that's only a technicality.
22 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Secrets, lies, and feminism 24 juillet 2008
Par Rebecca Huston - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This summer seems to be a time of novels for me. There's been a particular abundance of riches where historical settings have become popular again, and I have been eagerly reading my way along. Today's choice was a vivid, insightful story built around a Victorian scandal -- the divorce.

Nowadays, a divorce hardly seems to cause a ripple in our society, but in the nineteenth century, a divorce was a very public, very messy, and unpleasant experience. In her new novel, The Sealed Letter, author Emma Donoghue explores the impact of such a decision on one middle class family, through the eyes of the husband and wife, and their friend, Emily Faithfull.

Nicknamed 'Fido' as much for her character as her last name, Fido meets up with an old friend suddenly in a London street. It's been more than seven years since she's seen Helen Codrington, and in all that time Fido hasn't seen any communications from her. It's more than a surprise for Fido, it's a shock to see her old friend.

Helen hasn't changed a bit. Away with her husband in Malta, Helen is still the gay, charming woman that she has always been. She claims that she never recieved any of the letters that Fido has sent, blaming it on the wretched postal system of that distant island. And she seems to be eager to resume her friendship with Fido. Despite her misgivings Fido is glad to resume that friendship as well.

For Fido is unusual among women in Victorian London. She has remained single, working in the Cause of equal rights and opportunities for women in both the home and workplace. She has set up her own printing business, The Victoria Press, and has even been granted the distinction of a royal warrant.

Finally, there is Helen's husband, Henry Codrington, an admiral in the British navy. He's served with distinction in the Fleet, and now has been rotated home to a desk job. While he's chafing at not being able to serve aboard a ship, he's trying to make the best of it.

Through the thoughts, actions and letters of these three, the reader gets to have an intimate view of a Victorian marriage, where husband and wife were restricted by social norms, intimacy was rare, and especially reputation was considered important. Women had few rights, and many seem to be content with their lot, spending their days in social calls, raising their children, and charitable work. For Helen, her days are frivolous, spending too much money, avoiding her husband, and making attempts to be a mother to her two daughters. She makes choices that are impulsive at best, and one is about to bring her comfortable world to an end.

I don't want to reveal much more. I have to say that Donoghue's writing is wonderfully evocative of the period, filled with details of life for the well-to-do, the customs of the time, and most of all, the minds of three people in a very complicated relationship. All three of them are given very distinct voices and motivations and I found their story to be both compelling and heartbreaking. The author does what very few can manage -- make you both sympathetic to the plight they are in, and at the same time make you cringe at what they do and say.

Helen in particular is a very conflicted character, with behavior that infuriated me at times, and while I couldn't look away from the impeding doom, I did keep hoping that some sort of miracle would happen. As for Fido, she is an unusual heroine, very different than most subjects of historical fiction being not at all pretty, not looking for a life-partner, and having determination to find her own future -- on her terms.

There is one glaring error in this book, and as it is a technical one, not one in style or narrative, it's a minor one. The typeface used for the letters in the story is a very difficult one to read at first, rendered in a flowing, cursive font, with plenty of flourishes. Very pretty perhaps, and a nice conceit, but very hard to read at first.

For those readers who want to read something that focuses on a story that is revealing and entertaining, this is an excellent story. The author has an afterword that discloses a surprise, and one that I won't spoil -- you'll just have to find out for yourself.
9 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A splendid read 11 juillet 2008
Par Deborah Peifer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
It should come as no surprise to anyone who has read any of Emma Donoghue's earlier novels that The Sealed Letter is an astonishingly well written and compelling novel. Based on a notorious nineteenth century divorce case, The Sealed Letter explores ideas about friendship and feminism, marriage and motherhood, honor and dishonor with wit, compassion and eloquence. I will call The Sealed Letter a courtroom drama as long as you promise not to imagine for a moment that there is anything of the formulaic in Donoghue's sure hand. A book to read and reread, to savor for its language and its history, its compelling characters and heart-stopping plot. An altogether worthy successor to the extraordinary Slammerkin and the splendid Life Mask.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Donoghue manages to place Fido's story firmly in history without losing any of its emotional resonance and power 18 novembre 2008
Par Bookreporter - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Scandalous charges, shocking countercharges, stained dresses, sealed letters --- these are the stuff of 20th-century sex scandals like the Clinton/Lewinsky affair, right? Not so, proves Emma Donoghue in THE SEALED LETTER, a novel set in the Victorian era, centered on a highly publicized divorce case that ruined lives and riveted an entire country.

The book's central character is Emily Faithfull, nicknamed Fido. An enlightened preacher's daughter who supports herself through her printing business, Fido is at the forefront of the burgeoning movement for women's rights in England. But all her success, not to mention her reputation, is put at risk when Fido's oldest friend, Helen Codrington, returns to London from her husband's posting in Malta.

Helen, with her fashionable style, good looks and flirtatious personality, seems like an unlikely friend for plain Fido, but the two are exceptionally close; before they left for Malta, Helen and her husband even invited Fido to live with them for a time. Reigniting their old friendship after years of separation, however, soon proves to be a challenge. More often than not, Helen is accompanied by a dashing military officer, and the two even use Fido's own house for their assignations, much to Fido's embarrassment and disgust.

When Helen's husband becomes increasingly suspicious of his wife's associations (especially when she fails to respond to an urgent telegram sent to Fido's home), he initiates divorce proceedings. Helen, who is at a great disadvantage in the legal case, enlists Fido to provide evidence --- of an incident she doesn't even remember. As the case proceeds, Fido's entire professional career --- not to mention her relationship with Helen and her opinion of herself --- threatens to unravel.

At the center of THE SEALED LETTER is a tense, revelation-filled courtroom scene, with unreliable witnesses, questionable testimony and outright lies. Just like today, the media has a field day with the evidence, providing readers with as many titillating details as they're able to print. In addition to providing an in-depth portrayal of the 19th-century legal system, the novel (and especially the sealed letter of the title) also raises interesting points about the psychological complexities that lie beneath many courtroom decisions.

THE SEALED LETTER offers readers a fascinating exploration of Victorian culture and society, from the (negligible) rights of women to arcane divorce laws to attitudes about sex and sexuality. Readers shouldn't miss Donoghue's extensive author's note, which explains the historical background of the novel. However, this book is far more than simply a rundown of Victorian legalities and mores; instead, it is a perceptive, and at times poignant, exploration of Fido's attempts to balance her identity as an independent woman, a model to her generation, with her rapidly eroding love and trust for her friend, Helen. Donoghue manages to place Fido's story firmly in history without losing any of its emotional resonance and power.

--- Reviewed by Norah Piehl
6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Soporific, Tedious, Lackluster 16 janvier 2009
Par Barb Mechalke - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
This is one of those books that sounds really good...until you read it and then you wonder what on earth are all of these rave reviews for?

Did we read the same book? I don't think so, because the book I read was dull as dull could be. The characters were not brought to life, the interactions were melodramatic and the story was tedious. I thought the most interesting part of this book was the author's note.

Helen Condrington runs into her old friend Emily 'Fido' Faithful in the street just two weeks after Helen's return to London from Malta where she and her husband Harry have been living for seven years. Helen and Fido were very close when they were younger and they resume their friendship now that Helen is back. Helen's husband soon files for divorce and Fido finds herself drawn into the ensuing courtroom drama.

Donoghue creates a realistic enough setting, London 1864, but without an engaging story within that setting I found it just wasn't enough to make reading this book enjoyable or worthwhile. I think it might have been an interesting story if the author had examined the relationship between the two main characters more thoroughly or any other relationships. But as it is it seemed like Donughue got the bones of the story (which is non-fiction) and failed to flesh it out with the character's insights and true emotions. I think this could have been a really wonderful story in the hands of a more masterful writer.

There are certainly issues to talk about for a group discussion. But as it is I found this to be a very forgettable story.
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