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The Maid of Buttermere

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780340423738

Price: £10.99

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Melvyn Bragg’s highly acclaimed, bestselling historical novel, the story behind one of the 19th century’s greatest scandals.

Set in the Lake District at the height of the Romantic age, this is the riveting story of a love affair that led to a nationwide manhunt, captured the public imagination and fascinated both Wordsworth and Coleridge: a story of wealth, title, class and faith – and deception.

It began with the arrival of a stranger in the newly fashionable ‘paradise’, a man calling himself the Honourable Colonel Alexander Augustus Hope, brother to the Earl of Hopetoun – handsome, charming and evidently open to the prospect of marrying a suitable young lady. Until he met Mary Robinson, the daughter of a local innkeeper renowned far beyond the Lakes as the ‘Maid of Buttermere’ for her beauty, grace and intelligence, and fell helplessly in love. Their mutual passion seemed at first to surmount all obstacles, but it was to bring unwanted fame and lead to tragedy.

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Reviews

A vivid and erudite tour de force
Penelope Lively
This is the story of an impostor and bigamist, a self-styled Colonel Hope, who travels to the North, where eventually he marries "The Maid of Buttermere", a young woman whose natural beauty inspired the dreams and confirmed the theories of various early nineteenth-century writers . . . It is a fine story . . . This is historical fiction with a human face
Peter Ackroyd, The Times
A skilled, ornate and convincing examination of a nineteenth-century scandal in Bragg's own Cumbria
Thomas Keneally
A detailed, eloquent and affecting panorama of truth and lies . . . thrusts [him] into the front rank
Mail on Sunday
A triumph . . . I am overwhelmingly impressed
Beryl Bainbridge
Bragg achieves the most difficult of feats, the telling of the changing perceptions and ideals of a radical age . . . He is also as powerful as ever in his description of nature
Sunday Times
A terrific tale of passion, lust, deception and moral outrage.
Daily Mail
Bragg writes with picturesque clarity; his prose accommodates the formality of the period, the splendidly sombre wateriness of the place and the robust passions of the people who lived there
Sunday Telegraph
A fine novel, both sad and tragic. His background descriptions are beautiful . . . while his evocation of the early nineteenth century, and his handling of the ever-interesting topic of English snobbery is impeccable
Irish Times
Compelling . . . Painted on a broad canvas, packed with detail, with characters, with interesting psychological issues, and sallies into the history of the years 1802-1803
Glasgow Herald
Very much enjoyed; a fine subject treated with great energy and imagination, and a gusto that Hazlitt would have admired
Richard Holmes
An ingenious telling of a romantic tragedy
Gore Vidal