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  • Virago

Fair Exchange

Michele Roberts

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Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

* Drawing on the secrets, lives and affairs of two of the most famous and passionate figures of the 18th century - Mary Wollstonecraft and William Wordsworth - this is Mich le Roberts most accessible and romantic novel to date

In the early 1800s, Louise, a French peasant woman, fearing she is about to die, calls for her priest. She has a secret to confess. Though the priest is impatient, she wants to tell her tale from the beginning. The story opens in Stoke Newington, London, in the 1780s, with Jemima Boote, arriving at Miss Mary Wollstonecraft's school. Jemima follows her beloved teacher to Paris wanting to be part of the erupting revolution and then - six months pregnant - retreats to the tiny village of Louise's youth. Her arrival coincides with that of another young mother-to-be, Annette, who has been sent by her parents to the country to hide her disgraceful pregnancy and to get over her infatuation with William, a young English poet. In an abandoned convent they take up their waiting: waiting for their babies, waiting for their men.
While drawing hints and facts from the lives and secret affairs of two of the most famous and passionate figures of the late 18th century - Mary Wollstonecraft and William Wordworth - the intriguing mystery surrounding these two women, is Mich le Roberts own fascinating creation.

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Michele Roberts

Half-English and half-French, Mich le Roberts was born in 1949. DAUGHTERS OF THE HOUSE (1992) was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the W.H. Smith Literary Award.

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