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Laura Blundy [Mass Market Paperback]

Julie Myerson
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 2001

From the author of Me and the Fat Man and Home comes a gripping historical novel set in Victorian London. This is a tale of murder and love – and the tragic extremes of loss and need.

On a humid, thundery afternoon, Laura commits an appalling act – the murder of her husband. But is it so appalling to free yourself, to run after the only passion you’ve ever known? It is Billy who has to find an answer – Billy, fifteen years younger than her and already a father of five. But what he doesn’t know yet is that Laura also had a child, a child she gave up to the Foundling Hospital and whose memory will shape their future together in unimaginable ways.

Julie Myerson’s new novel moves through a Victorian London which is tender, murky and unsettling. A spectacularly eerie and unforgettable love story.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books; Reissue edition (July 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573228842
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573228848
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,110,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Julie Myerson is the author of seven novels, including the bestselling Something Might Happen, and three works of non-fiction, including Home: The Story of Everyone Who Ever Lived In Our House, which was dramatised on BBC Radio 4 and her most recent book, The Lost Child. She lives in London and Suffolk with her husband and teenage children.

(Photo credit: Chloe Myerson)

Product Description

Amazon Review

On a sultry afternoon, Laura Blundy exacts a terrible revenge on her wealthy husband and, scarcely able to believe her crime, flees to her lover. As they contemplate the future, Laura pieces together her troubled past. Destitute on the mean streets of Victorian London, she bore a child at 15, served time in jail and suffered a crippling accident, only to find herself imprisoned by her saviour, the cruel surgeon Lockhart. Billy, the young man who rescues her from the Thames, offers Laura what she yearns for--love, respect and respite from the grief racking her soul. But as Laura's tale unfolds, the lovers discover it was not chance alone that brought them together.

Myerson has crafted a haunting love story, rich in painstakingly gathered detail. Like Suskind's Perfume, the text pulsates with the sights--and stinks--of the city. She also paints a vivid, almost visceral portrait of motherhood and loss. At times, however, the reader's enjoyment of the story is clouded by the Dickensian detail. One can only read so much relentless suffering before longing for a little humour--something which Myerson, unlike Dickens, has not factored into her account. This is an intelligent and deeply moving book, but one needs nerves of steel to reach its deeply rewarding conclusion. --Matthew Baylis --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

‘A sad, sexy thriller, shot through with startling events, grisly details and a love story with a conundrum you’ll be pondering for days.’ Independent on Sunday

‘To have put into words that which is beyond words is a measure of the author’s achievement – and her cunning – and the resulting book hits hard in the middle of the night.’ the Times

‘A gory little Victorian leg amputation, a red-haired surgeon, a crime of passion and an eerie atmosphere sees Julie Myerson on dark and dangerous form.’ Elle

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
I do it on a hot and stormy late-summer's afternoon, shortly after the evening post arrives and some time before the lamps are lit. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Laura Blundy 27 April 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This very strange book kept me totally involved. It is not immediatelyclear what the central theme is, whether it is a thriller, a love story ora ghost story, even whether the eponymous main character is real or not. In its description of the murder with which it opens and the consequentbuchery, as in that of the nineteenth-century amputation, it is shockingand stomach-turning; one feels almost like vomitting with Laura herself. As an expression of the sorrow caused by the loss of a child, thedesperation of trying to find a way of living without that child, and theobsessive search for him, it is both convincing and very moving. Thecharacters are vibrant and well-drawn, with enough detail to bring them tolife on the page. I found the end puzzling, and need to think about itstill - to say more would be to spoil the book for new readers.
There are a couple of linguistic anachronisms,I think. The word "grotty"and the phrase "fun time", for instance, jarred on me - they didn't seemto fit the period. But the fast-moving, straightforward, almostjournalistic, style suited the breakneck speed of the story, in which the"action", as in Greek tragedy, took place in a twenty-four hour period,even though the events leading to it and surrounding it covered a muchwider time-scale. This is the first novel I have read by Julie Myersonand I shall be interested to read others.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MYERSON IN TOP FORM 16 Oct 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Set amidst the gritty poverty of Victorian London Laura Blundy is the mesmerizing exploration of a lost soul, a journal of obsessive love, and a harrowing tale that haunts.
The author of three critically acclaimed novels, most notably Me and the Fat Man (1998), Ms. Myerson has now created an otherworldly protagonist, an enigmatic woman capable of both nefarious acts and abiding devotion. It is appropriate that Laura Blundy's life, which is related in flashbacks, unfolds at a time when illness pervades; cholera takes its toll. London's city sewers are being built so that the city "will have a proper sewerage system and lives will be saved." Yet now the "normal stink of Thames," the dank sewer tunnels and the debris ridden river banks anchored by the Baptist Chapel with its forlorn, broken windows mirror Laura's murky thoughts, which are disseminated by Ms. Meyerson with candor and clarity.
Dickensian woes pale beside the travails of Laura Blundy; Dickensian villains are pussycats compared to her.
Once an educated daughter of privilege, her father's death and financial reversals have forced Laura onto the streets. She sleeps among the crawlers and dowsers on the steps of the workhouse with only a stained tarpaulin for shelter from the rain.
We learn that while imprisoned in Tatum Fields she was made to wear a thick foul smelling veil. When she protested that she could not see, the reply was, "There's nothing to see...This is it. This is the punishment - darkness and solitude - the best way to contemplate the errors of the soul.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous, heartbreaking novel 27 Feb 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The best book I've read in a very long time. Myerson provides a rich depiction of Victorian England, and her narrator is utterly compelling. I could not put this book down. The central storyline - of a mother's love and loss - is absorbing, heartrending and ultimately, devastating. This story haunted me for months...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sex and Death in the Pantry 1 May 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I didn't want to pick this book up at all. It all looked too familiar; bedraggled but attractive waif is rescued from grim sojourn on London's cobbled streets by shy but sensitive up-and-coming young professional, who treats her to a lovely house, a new wardrobe and the promise of becoming a laydee. What a relief, then to find that Julie Myerson, with sly relish, unpeels all these conventions to reveal squirming, raw human nature capable of every extreme. To take us through, we have Laura- a caustically funny, ruthless narrator who sees through what her fellow-characters, and we, want her to be. There are grotesques aplenty, in a take on nineteenth-century that is more David Lynch than Dickens- amputations, sexual sadism and a cracking murder scene that's more culinary than gothic. But there's also a clear-sighted perception of what drives these figures to commit horrendous acts- not inhumanity, but humanity deprived of its most basic longings
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Let's down the reader 5 Nov 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Very disappointing. I love Julie's book Something Might Happen but this was disappointing as the ending is so confusing that I actually have no idea what happened. If (and I don't want to spoil it for other readers) what I THINK might have happened, did, then it is a total cop-out. A non-story. Sorry I was not impressed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Laura Blundy. 20 Sep 2008
Format:Paperback
This is the 3rd Julie Myerson book i have read and after finding the first 2 excellent, i must say i found this one very confusing and not nearly as good as her other books. It jumps to so many different parts of the main charactors life, past and present, sometimes 2 or 3 times on a page. You really have to have your wits about you each time you pick up the book to read a few pages again as it just confuses you. I was determined to finish the book though. I found it depressing, sad, grim, and thankful i wasn't a poor person living in Victorian London, as my ancestors were. You couldn't warm to Laura, she isn't endearing but cold and heartless and annoying. The ending of the book puts things into place abit more but is still not fully answering your questions,
A strange book.
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