new historical novel
Wiltshire 1860: One year after Darwin's explosive publication of The Origin of
Species, sisters Anna and Beatrice Pentecost awaken to a world shattered by science, radicalism
and the stirrings of feminist rebellion; a world of charismatic religious movements, Spiritualist
séances, bitter loss and medical trauma.
Fetishist of working women Arthur Munby, irascible antiquary General Pitt Rivers,
feminist Barbara Bodichon and other historical figures of the Victorian epoch wander through the backdrop
of the novel, as Anna's anomalous love for Lore Ritter and her friendship with freethinking and ambitious
Miriam Sala carry her into areas of uncharted desire while Beatrice, forced to choose between her
beloved Will Anwyl and the evangelist Christian Ritter, who marked her out as a wife when she was only
a child, is pulled between passion and duty.
Each is riven by inner contradictions, but who will survive when the sisters fall
into a fatal conflict?
'If you are as interested, as I am, in the position of women in the mid-19th
century, then Awakenings is a must-read. It is full of human insight into the nature of insanity,
motherhood and bereavement but is also funny. It's one of those rare novels that the more you read,
the more you discover. George Eliot would be impressed.' (Sally Zigmond, Historical Novel Society
Review Issue 64, May 2013). Read the full review.