× Read Ð Conceit by Mary Novik × There is a certain eternalness about the characters who are carved so sharply, so beautifully from the words that flow together as poetry This was a beautiful book it is a classic And I am entirely enad by the world created by Novik The story of Pegge, who might have been Cinderella in some other story, who dreams and wants as feverishly as her genius father Her genius has no audience, and her desires are largely unspoken However, at the end of it all, she finds fulfillment And love.
Awesome If you love historical fiction or just love a good read this is for you.
St Paul S Cathedral Stands Like A Cornered Beast On Ludgate Hill, Taking Deep Breaths Above The Smoke The Fire Has Made Terrifying Progress In The Night And Is Closing In On The Ancient Monument From Three Directions Built Of Massive Stones, The Cathedral Is Held To Be Invincible, But Suddenly Pegge Sees What The Flames Covet The Two Hundred And Fifty Feet Of Scaffolding Erected Around The Broken Tower Once The Flames Have A Foothold On The Wooden Scaffolds, They Can Jump To The Lead Roof, And Once The Timbers Burn And The Vaulting Cracks, The Cathedral Will Be Toppled By Its Own Mass, A Royal Bear Brought Down By Common Dogs P It Is The Great Fire Of The Imposing Edifice Of St Paul S Cathedral, A Landmark Of London Since The Twelfth Century, Is Being Reduced To Rubble By The Flames That Engulf The CityIn The Holocaust, Pegge And A Small Group Of Men Struggle To Save The Effigy Of Her Father, John Donne, Famous Love Poet And The Great Dean Of St Paul S Making Their Way Through The Heat And Confusion Of The Streets, They Arrive At Paul S Wharf Pegge S Husband, William Bowles, Anxiously Scans The Wretched Scene, Suddenly Realizing Why Pegge Has Asked Him To Meet Her At This Desperate SpotThe Story Behind This Dramatic Rescue Begins Forty Years Before The Fire Pegge Donne Is Still A Rebellious Girl, Already Too Clever For A World That Values Learning Only In Men, When Her Father Begins Arranging Marriages For His Five Daughters, Including Pegge Pegge, However, Is Desperate To Taste The All Consuming Desire That Led To Her Parents Clandestine Marriage, Notorious Throughout England For Shattering Social Convention And For Inspiring Some Of The Most Erotic And Profound Poetry Ever Written She Sets Out To Win The Love Of Izaak Walton, A Man Infatuated With Her Older SisterStung By Walton S Rejection And Jealous Of Her Physically Mature Sisters, The Boyish Pegge Becomes Convinced That It Is Her Own Father Who Knows The Secret Of Love She Collects His Poems, Hoping To Piece Together Her Parents History, Searching For Some Connection To The Mother She Barely KnewIntertwined With Pegge S Compelling Voice Are Those Of Ann More And John Donne, Telling Us Of The Courtship That Inspired Some Of The World S Greatest Poetry Of Love And Physical Longing Donne S Seduction Leads Ann To Abandon Social Convention, Risk Her Father S Certain Wrath, And Elope With Donne It Is The Undoing Of His Career And The Two Are Left To Struggle In A Marriage That Leads To Her Death In Her Twelfth Childbirth At Age Thirty ThreeIn Donne S Final Days, Pegge Tries, In Ways That Push The Boundaries Of Daughterly Behaviour, To Discover The Key To Unlock Her Own Sexuality After His Death, Pegge Still Struggles To Free Herself From An Obsession That Threatens To Drive Her Beyond The Bounds Of Reason Even After She Marries, She Cannot Suppress Her Independence Or Her Desire To Experience Extraordinary LoveConceit Brings To Life The Teeming, Bawdy Streets Of London, The Intrigue Ridden Court, And The Lushness Of The Seventeenth Century English Countryside It Is A Story Of Many Kinds Of Love Erotic, Familial, Unrequited, And Obsessive And The Unpredictable Workings Of The Human Heart With Characters Plucked From The Pages Of History, Mary Novik S Debut Novel Is An Elegant, Fully Imagined Story Of Lives You Will Find Hard To Leave Behind From The Hardcover Edition This is a beautifully written historical novel, told mainly from the pov of John Donne s daughter This is the type of historical fiction I delight in, with flawlessly crafted prose, delightful details, wit, and interesting family dynamics I highly recommend it.
A great read This is a book you tell your friends about and they tell their friends about.
Loved this book The main characters are so eccentric and passionate The historical context is really informative and so well written I loved how the author develops the intricacies of the relationship between John and his daughter Pegge, and how their relationship impacts on her relationship with her husband and life long love The prose is wonderful I had a hard time putting it down Happy to read yet another smart, well writen book by a Canadian author.

read my review of 17th century England was no easy time for anyone, including Pegge, second youngest daughter of the infamous poet and preacher John Donne A strange girl with a slightly obsessive fascination for her father and a yearning for the kind of love he had with her mother, Ann, before her death several years before, Pegge has fixed her sights on Izaak Walton, a young fisherman the same age as her oldest sister Constance whom Izaak loves despite Con s dismissive attitude and ambition.
From 1622 until after the London fire of 1666 that burned down John Donne s St Paul s Cathedral where his body rested and not in his wife s grave as he had always promised Conceit follows Pegge s journey through life from a young girl to a mature married woman, as well as retelling the story of John and Ann In fact, Ann tells her side of the story from her grave, with the novel switching several times from third to second person as she speaks her mind directly to her husband, who in several ways betrayed her.
The characters are very much alive, and while I know next to nothing about John Donne or Izaak Walton or Samuel Pepys who has a small role , or anyone else in the novel, and although the author acknowledges that she invented joyfully and freely you would have to employ creative licence when retelling the intimate lives of people long, long gone , the depth of detail and the quality of the prose render it authentic It s hard to describe the quality of the prose, and the tone and feel it conveys it has the ability to make the story come alive, and yet seem dream like all at once There s a great deal of imagery and recurring themes, which hold the novel together tightly than the actual plot does Speaking of plot, there isn t really one It s very character driven, rather meandering, but lives and breathes through its artful prose The switch in perspective and voice isn t as strange as it sounds, and it s never hard to follow Time does jump forward quite suddenly, and I had to plot it by noting how many children Pegge had had and how old they were.
Pegge herself is a very interesting character, quite eccentric and outside the norm, which you really only become aware of when seeing her through her husband William s eyes He loves her but she s so wrapped up in the story of her parent s all consuming love until Ann had too many children and miscarriages and died , that she sometimes seems to think she is Ann Like The Nature of Monsters, which was set after the fire, Conceit captures the morbid fascination of a people mesmerised by life and death and all the gruesome, unflattering things that are hidden behind clothes and closed doors Donne s poetry verged on vulgar, and his sermons were preoccupied with festering flesh and sexual sins Depravity and innocence are juxtaposed with perfect balance here, neither one tipping the scales The characters are stripped bare, their foibles, hypocrisies, vanities and Conceits laid bare, and it s sometimes hard to find a sympathetic character, especially when their motives remain obscure Yet that in itself only adds to the vibrancy of the novel, the honesty and voyeuristic perspective Conceit is a remarkable novel in its achievement, in its ability to capture the greys of its characters and utilise that Dickensian quality Frye talked about, of creating and writing characters who are so far from reality that they read as real than if they d been written less fantastically The prose is organic, mystical almost, and while it s no conventional book aiming to please, it s worth reading for the historical depth of detail, the exploration of one of England s most famous poets, and for a walk down a new and unfamiliar path if you re willing to let Pegge lead the way.
I am so very happy that Mary was long listed for the Giller, and that she won the Ethel Wilson for this book Well deserved I have not read many historical fiction novels, but this didn t really read like a typical historical fiction I read it not only once, but twice before it really came out , and afterwards The first time I read it for the story although I couldn t not notice the excellent prose , and I read quickly Yes, I found it was a page turner The second time I read as slowly as I could, so that I could savour the the language, the story as it unfolded I missed many things during the first read An interest in John Donne is not a prerequisite for reading this novel Although your interest in the man may well be piqued after reading Conceit I highly recommend this book.