The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue

The Sealed Letter book review
Helen Codrington is unhappily married. Emily ‘Fido’ Faithfull hasn’t seen her once-dear friend for years. Suddenly, after bumping into Helen on the streets of Victorian London, Fido finds herself reluctantly helping Helen to have an affair with a young army officer.

The women’s friendship quickly unravels amid courtroom accusations of adultery, counter-accusations of cruelty and attempted rape, and the appearance of a mysterious ‘sealed letter’ that could destroy more than one life . . .

Based on a real-life scandal that gripped England in 1864, The Sealed Letter is a delicious tale of secrets, betrayal, and forbidden love.

I love books set in the Victorian Era and having read Emma Donoghue's 'Room' I was pretty excited to get stuck into this. The Sealed Letter is based on the true story of the Codrington divorce case of 1964 and Helen Codrington's friendship with Emily Faithfull, a women's rights activist. It details the women's friendship and Helen's marriage followed by the divorce case and the aftermath. 

I did enjoy this book but I found it a little slow going and it took me a while to get through it. The explorations of the dynamics Helen and Emily's relationship were interesting but I felt it could have delved deeper considering that Emily Faithfull was named in the real case as having a close relationship with Helen Codrington. It just seemed like a lot of Helen been a bitch and Emily accepting it! The last three quarters of the book were really good though when Emily finally stops been a pushover and I really enjoyed the ending which is a big thing for me as I hardly ever like the ending of book. 

It's worth a read just be prepared for it to be quite slow going.

Rating: ★★

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