IN THE TRADITION OF WIDE SARGASSO SEA, HAVISHAM IS THE ASTONISHING PRELUDE TO CHARLES DICKENS'S GREAT EXPECTATIONS.
Before she became the immortal and haunting Miss Havisham of Great Expectations, she was Catherine, a young woman with all of her dreams ahead of her. Spry, imperious, she is the daughter of a wealthy brewer. But she is never far from the smell of hops and the arresting letters on the brewhouse wall—HAVISHAM—a reminder of all she owes to the family name and the family business.
Sent by her father to stay with the Chadwycks, Catherine discovers elegant pastimes to remove the taint of her family's new money. But for all her growing sophistication, Catherine is anything but worldly, and when a charismatic stranger pays her attention, everything—her heart, her future, the very Havisham name—is vulnerable.
In Havisham, Ronald Frame unfurls the psychological trauma that made young Catherine into Miss Havisham and cursed her to a life alone, roaming the halls of the mansion in the tatters of the dress she wore for the wedding she was never to have.
PARTICULARS OF THE BOOK:
Published by: Picador
Author: Ronald Frame
Genre: Historical Fiction
Purchase: Barnes & Noble
ABOUT THE AUTHOR :
Ronald Frame was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and educated there and at Oxford University. His novel The Lantern Bearers was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, named the Scottish Book of the Year, and cited by the American Library Association. He is also a dramatist and winner of the Samuel Beckett Award. Many of his original radio plays have been broadcast by the BBC. He lives outside Glasgow.
THE BOOKISH DAME REVIEWS :
"Havisham" is one of those books that starts off slowly and then builds to a crescendo as it moves along. Written with the hand of a clear and clean storyteller, it flows inevitably, grabbing our interest as Miss Havisham grows aware of her own world and circumstances.
Ronald Frame is an author of strong imagination who is obviously well-acquainted with Dickens and his London. While he doesn't seek to copy Dickens's style, he does keep to the rhythm of the times and the pace of the original story.
The easy characterization in this novel caused me to fall in love all over again with Miss Havisham. Frame gives us the bones of her naivete, her delicate mind and nature; and her vulnerability to love.
What a venerable and unique subject she is for literature, and what a worthy job he does of describing her to us. I've always loved her strange ways and delighted in France's exploration of her mysterious background.
This is a book for all fans of Dickens's Miss Havisham. Those who have wondered what happened to shape her and what happened to cause her to ultimately live the bizarre and fatalistic way she did; seeking to warp and destroy the lives of innocent others.
I recommend this book but warn once again that while it's not written exactly in the style of Dickens, Mr. Frame has his own hand at storytelling that is unique. His use of classical literary quotes sprinkled throughout makes the book seem both ethereal and beautifully timeless. It is not by any means an ordinary historical fiction read.
4 stars Deborah/TheBookishDame