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The Victorian and the Romantic
The Victorian and the Romantic: A Memoir, a Love Story, and a Friendship Across Time | Nell Stevens
13 posts | 8 read | 1 reading | 33 to read
History meets memoir in two irresistible true-life romances--one set in 19th century Rome, one in present-day Paris and London--linked by a bond between women writers a hundred years apart In 1857, English novelist Elizabeth Gaskell completed her most famous work: the biography of her dear friend Charlotte Bront. As publication loomed, Mrs. Gaskell was keen to escape the reviews. So, leaving her dull minister husband and dreary provincial city behind, she set off with her daughters to Rome. There she met a dazzling group of artists and writers, among them the American critic Charles Eliot Norton. Seventeen years her junior, Norton was her one true love. They could not be together--it would be an unthinkable breach of convention--but by his side and amidst that splendid circle, Mrs. Gaskell knew she had reached the "tip-top point of [her] life." In 2013, Nell Stevens is embarking on her PhD--about the community of artists and writers living in Rome in the mid-19th century--and falling head over heels for a soulful American screenwriter in another city. As her long-distance romance founders and her passion for academia never quite materializes, she is drawn to Mrs. Gaskell. Could this indomitable Victorian author rescue Nell's pursuit of love, family and a writing career? Lively, witty, and impossible to put down, The Victorian and the Romantic is a moving chronicle of two women each charting a way of life beyond the rules of her time.
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LitDrivenGirl
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July and August New Book Picks and a bonus treat for getting a part time job 📚🥰. I somehow managed to pick all nonfiction reads. I'm excited about reading Nell Stevens' memoir because it's partly about my lady Elizabeth Gaskell! My writing spark has been lit again recently and One Year to a Writing Life has me interested. Life has been busy and my reading mojo has been experiencing a draught... sorry I haven't been on much. #bookhaul

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DivineDiana
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Pickpick

This is Elizabeth Gaskell, a British writer who was the best friend of Charlotte Brontë. Elizabeth wrote her biography. This memoir is about the author attempting to write her doctoral dissertation about Mrs. Gaskell while trying to balance a love affair. She feels that Mrs. Gaskell is her kindred spirit as she too felt strong affection for a man who could not be hers. Somewhat of a stretch to compare the two writers lives as similar, but enjoyed.

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DivineDiana
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Haven‘t done this in a while, but couldn‘t resist checking out this charming book while returning my other ones. Did not realize that it was a biography until, I got it home! Usually, I am going to the library for specific book club or challenge books.

Eyelit That book sounds great! Stacked 🙂 7mo
DivineDiana @Eyelit 👍🏻 I am already Googling some real life artists that I did not know! (edited) 7mo
73 likes7 stack adds2 comments
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AmyStewart
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I adored this book! I generally don‘t like novels that weave between a historical story and a modern day researcher/historian trying to figure her own life out as informed by this other past life (how is this a genre, much less one I know well enough to have an opinion about) but actually this is a memoir and a lovely depiction of a real person grappling with a subject she‘s trying to write about and understand—and I do relate to that! Lovely book

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Rhondareads
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History combined with a memoir add romance & a lovely sketch can‘t wait to read thanks @DoubledayBooks for this #instagramwin,made my day💕👏👏📚

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charl08
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The author's description of supervision meetings is reminding me of anxieties past. Enjoying the history bits about Mrs Gaskell though.

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charl08
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There were so many people to insult...

Maxim for life there.

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unabridgedchick
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Loved Stevens'previous memoir and loving this one so far.

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nebrinkley
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Pickpick

Sometimes, when you really love a book, you gotta try your best to replicate the cover—but with a less cool outfit—and way more greenery.

I loved THE VICTORIAN & THE ROMANTIC. Half memoir of Nell Stevens‘s life, half biography of Elizabeth Gaskell, wholly unputdownable. This is a story of love and loss and literature, and if you‘re looking for some great nonfiction, I cannot recommend it enough.

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balletbookworm
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Mehso-so

I was interested in this book because I liked Stevens‘s previous work Bleaker House and also the work of Elizabeth Gaskell. And, well, this combination memoir-imaginative biography (biographical novella) combining Stevens‘s work for her PhD about 19th century artists, her love for Gaskell‘s work and the unfulfilled love affair (?) between Gaskell and Charles Eliot Norton is a strange hodge-podge of styles.

balletbookworm The choice to use 2nd person narration for the Gaskell bio parts took a while to get used to and in the end I‘m not sure if it worked that well. 1y
24 likes1 comment
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Lissa00
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I am about 20% into this #netgalley arc and am really enjoying it so far. It is exactly the book that I needed right now! Pub - 8/7

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GenreMinxReviews
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Mehso-so

The Author did a great job making an argument for the supposed love affair between Gaskell & Norton. I think that there is a great fictional memoir intertwined w/ a biography about the Author‘s journey with love & academia that was at times very appealing to read. I would have enjoyed the story more if the historical portion had been based on solid facts & not artistic license. Full review at www.thegenreminx.com #reviewer #TheGenreMinxBookReviews

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Moray_Reads
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Panpan

Damn. I have to stop reading books about/by writers who are failing at PhD's and turn the stories and ideas into novels instead. I inevitably find myself echoing the stern, irritated tutors and supervisors "What IS your point?" "Why HAVE you written this?" "Do you think your work is strong enough?". The writer's story is irritatingly familiar and self-centred in a way that doesn't offer anything interesting and the details of Gaskell's life ?

Moray_Reads Are far too fragmentary and underdeveloped to bolster the dull, angsty, unconvincing contemporary narrative. Hanging your autobiography on an ill-fitting literary link does not a good book make. Also who manages to get caught out on a misinterpretation of a crucial single word of a letter TWICE? Did she, a PhD candidate, not look at the original handwritten letter?! A frustrating and frankly boring reading experience. 2y
DivineDiana I do love the cover! 🤔❤️😉 2y
LeahBergen Damn! I‘m glad you saved me as this is something I would‘ve bought. 😬 2y
Moray_Reads @LeahBergen it's extremely thin and the link between the two women, besides the fact that one is writing an unconvincing thesis on the other, is tenuous at best 2y
LeahBergen Good to know! 👍🏻 2y
49 likes5 comments