Tattycoram

Tattycoram

Audrey Thomas

Audrey Thomas

Caricatured by Charles Dickens in Little Dorrit as a cantankerous maid, "Tattycoram" tells her own life story in this utterly compelling metafiction. Abandoned as a baby in a Foundling Hospital and cared for by a kindly foster mother until the age of 5, the young Hattie is hired as a housemaid by Victorian novelist Charles Dickens. Although Hattie escapes to care for her dying foster mother in the country, she is later swept back under the famous author's sphere of observation as a teacher. She must confront her benefactor about his shameless misrepresentation of her character in his latest novel. Audrey Thomas is the author of many highly acclaimed novels and won the Ethel Wilson Award three times. Literary Fiction, Metafiction, Historical Fiction, Canadian Author.
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Local Customs

Local Customs

Audrey Thomas

Audrey Thomas

Letitia Landon, "Letty" to her friends, is an intelligent, witty, successful writer, much sought after for dinner parties and soirées in the London of the 1830s. But, still single at thirty-six, she fears ending up as a wizened crone in a dilapidated country cottage, a cat her only companion. Just as she is beginning to believe she will never marry, she meets George Maclean, home on leave from his position as the governor of Cape Coast Castle on the Gold Coast of West Africa. George and Letty marry quietly and set sail for Cape Coast. Eight weeks later she is dead — not from malaria or dysentery or any of the multitude of dangers in her new home, but by her own hand. Or so it would seem. Local Customs examines, in poetic detail, a way of life that has faded into history. It was a time when religious and cultural assimilation in the British colonies gave rise to a new, strange social order. Letty speaks from beyond the grave to let the reader see the world through her eyes and explore the mystery of her death. Was she disturbed enough to kill herself, or was someone — or something — else involved?ReviewThomas has a faultless ear for dialogue, for how people sound... And she has a camera eye for physical detail. Margaret AtwoodIn this captivating account of the life --and mysterious death-- of an early 19th c. English poet, Audrey Thomas re-imagines a moment of historical change in West Africa with insight and uncanny verisimilitude. (Eleanor Wachtel) Audrey Thomas is not a romantic, nor is she a narrow satirist of false sophistication. She is a realist and a terrible comedian who expoeses her characters in a light like 'like the intense glare of the sun against the white walls of the houses'. (Jane Rule) The author's writing is stylistically brilliant. Audrey Callahan Thomas's specialty is not a region but a gender. She is intensely, assertively feminine...Mrs. Thomas's perceptions...are brillant A gripping tale about the role of colonial presumption and misadventure in the demise of the English poetess Letty Landon only eight weeks after her arrival, as the new bride of its white governor, on the slavery-haunted Gold Coast of Africa. (Sharon Thesen, Professor, Department of Creative Studies, UBC Okanagan) Thomas constructs a romantic, sometimes comic adventure spiced up with vivid images, tropical redolence, and the lurking spectre of violence. The period ambiance and conversational rhythms are deftly captured. Thomas is especially good on the solitudes of Victorian marriage. An assured stylist whose elegant turns of phrase and convincing incorporation of period details are put to good use here, Thomas vividly portrays Letty in her London element, where the scenes depicting her lukewarm courtship with George are wonderfully cringe-making. A beguiling and assured tale that's nimbly told. Recommended for its mystery and fascinating historical setting. The castle and those who once passed through it give Local Customs an almost gothic flavour, appropriate considering how Georgians and Victorians devoured such stories. Thomas has stripped away the flowery accoutrements of these 18th- and early 19th-century novels, but not the details that give a novel and its characters life, or the pacing that underlies the mystery. ReviewThomas is at the top of her game with this elegantly written, deeply felt gem of a novel. (Ann Ireland)
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