The stunning new novel from the acclaimed author of TRICK OF THE LIGHT and MAGPIE
In December 1922 Edith Thompson, a smart, bright, lower-middle class woman who worked in a milliner's shop, was tried for conspiring with her young lover Frederick Bywaters to murder her husband, Percy. The sensational trial, which took place in front of heaving crowds at the Old Bailey, unravelled a real life drama as exciting as any blockbuster: an illicit love affair, a back-street abortion, domestic violence, murder and a double execution. FRED AND EDIE draws together powerful threads between personal memory and public lives, between innocence and responsibility, and between fact and fiction. It is an exploration of a woman caught in the net of her own private fantasy and the conflicts of the era in which she lived, of her muddled attempt to defy convention and reshape her own destiny, and, finally, of the devastation she left in her wake.
It will captivate readers ... The real triumph of the novel is to make the fictionalised truth sound utterly convincing - a case of fiction not so much stranger as stronger than fact. Edie is so wonderful, so bitterly honest about herself, especially her understanding of her own sensual nature. And the sex is beautifully written about. Jill Dawson magnificently gets into the woman's skin and makes the whole act sublime - Margaret Forster
Jill Dawson's deft ability to map the territory of the heart, as well as the head, lends grace and conviction to this fictionalised version of a true story. FRED AND EDIE is a captivating account of a strangely impassioned, and compelling, love affair - Caryl Phillips
Compelling reading - The Times
Gripping ... an engrossing, passionate and tragic story - Daily Mail
A haunting exploration of female desire and the tragic consequences when it finds itself repressed and thwarted. - Sunday Times
A moving testimony to the desperation of unrequited love - The Times
Jill Dawson is the author of the novels Trick of the Light, Magpie, Fred and Edie, which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award, Wild Boy, Watch Me Disappear, which was longlisted for the Orange Prize, The Great Lover, Lucky Bunny, The Tell-Tale Heart and The Crime Writer, which won the East Anglian Book of the Year. An award-winning poet, she has also edited several poetry and short story anthologies.
Jill Dawson has held many Fellowships, including the Creative Writing Fellowship at the University of East Anglia. In 2008 she founded a mentoring scheme for new writers, Gold Dust. She lives in the Cambridgeshire Fens.