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Review of An Idle Woman by Wendy Parkins

When 18-year-old Frances Dickenson impulsively marries Lieutenant John Geils, what started as a wind-swept courtship unravels into a cruel and violent relationship as Frances finds herself gaslit and manipulated, separated from her family and locked away on an estate fearing not just for her life, but the lives of her children. 

England, 1838. Finding her strength and voice during a time when women were seen as the property of men, we follow Frances as she is put on trial... A divorce trial. As An Idle Woman unfolds, we have front row seats as Frances is expected to hand over her children, or basically kidnap them, at the risk of having everything taken from her by her husband. It’s quite horrifying, and you can’t help but feel immediately sympathetic towards Frances and her ordeal, something I felt strongly as a woman and mother myself. 

With aspects of her writing that can be found in classical literary fiction, such as Rebecca and The Yellow Wallpaper, An Idle Woman is an incredibly hard-hitting and powerful novel that will have you feeling sad, rage-filled, and, dare I say, inspired by Frances’ strength. 

*An Idle Woman is inspired by true events

Review by Danielle.

An Idle Woman was published on 14/06/24 by Legend Press.



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