Roland Michell, a Randolph Henry Ash scholar, stumbles upon drafts of a
fervent letter by the 19th century poet to an unknown woman, soon
determined to be writer Christabel LaMotte, and embarks on a journey of
discovery with LaMotte scholar and relation Maud Bailey.
reader may find him- or herself intimidated by the seeming verbosity of
the novel, as I was when I first attempted to read it, but will soon be
caught up in the mystery of the Ash-LaMotte correspondence and the
beauty of A.S. Byatt’s words. I am especially impressed with the way she
has written in different, distinct voices – Randolph Henry Ash,
Christabel LaMotte, Blanche Glover, Ellen Ash, Sabine de Kercoz – in the
form of letters and poetry and journals.