The Sunday NYT Book Review carries a rave review for Mrs. Robinson’s Disgrace, by Kate Summerscale, (Bloomsbury, 6/19; Tantor Audio), the story of a real-life Victorian scandal. The author’s earlier book, The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, also examined a forgotten slice of history. Says the NYT BR,

Just as she used the killing of a child in her previous book to provide insight into mid-19th-century domestic life and the rise of detective novels, Summerscale now uses Isabella and Henry Robinson’s scandalous divorce case to explore such diverse subjects as the era’s romantic novels, peculiar health fads and views of marriage.

The book has a growing number of fans:

The Daily Beast

What is particularly interesting about the book is the way that Summerscale engages with her material in such a psychologically rich manner, an added bonus feature, as it were, given that the original story is already so fascinating in itself.

Reviewed on NPR

Isabella emerges, regardless of the verdict, as the most fascinating of characters…[Summerscale] is perfectly at home in the 19th century, as evidenced in 2008’s The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, her grisly but addictively readable tale of an 1860 murder investigation

Entertainment Weekly give it an A and says,

Summerscale unspools the Robinsons’ tale with flair in Mrs. Robinson’s Disgrace, but it’s her social history of marriage that’s really riveting.

Audio sample (Tantor Audio):

MP3 Audio Sample

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