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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An emotional and haunting
I have just finished reading this book and from the very first page I was unable to put it down and have stayed up until the early hours of the morning to finish it.
From the first page, Fromberg Schaeffer draws you into the quiet village of North Chittenden, Vermont and into the life and mind of Agnes Dempster, a young girl living in this quiet village with her...
Published on 24 Jan. 2008 by R. Kuske

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow , Descriptive and Sad
This book was recommended to me by two people. I was told it was slow at the beginning but to stick with it, so I did. Well, I have to admit it is beautifully written and there are some very detailed descriptions of the characters, their histories and the relevant places they lived.

By the time I got to the nitty gritty, I felt that I knew all that I needed...
Published 23 months ago by Cryspalitus


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An emotional and haunting, 24 Jan. 2008
By 
I have just finished reading this book and from the very first page I was unable to put it down and have stayed up until the early hours of the morning to finish it.
From the first page, Fromberg Schaeffer draws you into the quiet village of North Chittenden, Vermont and into the life and mind of Agnes Dempster, a young girl living in this quiet village with her mother, father and eccentric grandmother.

A nervous and affected child from the start, Fromberg Schaeffer writes an emotional and entirely believable account of a woman driven mad by the all-consuming love she has for the stonecutter she sees on the journey from the town in which she grew up to the exciting city of Montpelier, to which she 'escapes' her dull life and her family. Agnes writes in her account, looking back over the years, her descent into madness and the awful consequence of her passionate and dangerous love for Frank the stonecutter whom she believes her soul was born for after she sees his silhouette as he leaves a burning building carrying in his arms the small child he has saved from the fire.

I found this book captivating and extremely emotionally involving. You cannot help but love and empathise with Agnes despite the terrible act she commits.

If there was something wrong with the book however, it would be the latter section of the book when the people of Montpelier learn of what has happened and side with Agnes almost immediately despite what she has done. It is feasible for the reader to feel this way towards Agnes but I found it a little hard to believe (and quite disconcerting) that the many people at the trial and Agnes' lawyers' wife and daughters 'side' with Agnes despite the fact that she did not know many of the people in the city and was quite new to it in comparison to the other girl who was the daughter of the owner of the well-known shop in the city and whom everyone knew and loved .
Also I would like to have seen a section after the book to include details of the young woman on whom this account was based and some of the authors' comments on the story of the 'real' Agnes' life and how she wrote the book.

I would definitely recommend this book to all, this story will stay in my mind for a very long time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The raging and consuming fire of a passionate nature constrained,, 6 Feb. 2010
By 
My goodness I had forgotten just what a shocking, powerful, deeply felt and beautifully written book this is. I'd just finished reading and reviewing the excellent Mrs Lincoln which reminded me of this book, which I read nearly 20 years ago. Both books examine how a passionate, unusual and intelligent woman at the tail end of the 19th or early 20th century could be stultified, pilloried and incarcerated because they couldn't fit into the prescribed norms for women. The lack of any outlet for passionate engagement in life except marriage and motherhood - and even that, within fairly harsh prescriptions, coupled with a tendency to deep thinking, deep feeling, - created the terrain for huge conflict and probable explosion.

Both books are either about real individuals and their real stories (Mrs Lincoln) or based on a real case, as here.

Shaeffer writes like an angel, and her exploration of 'dysfunction' within a family traces back within 3 generations, and is full of insight. Perhaps it is truer to say that she suggests that the 'dysfunction' is not purely within the family, more within a society which didn't allow women expression of their potential. To be feisty, ornery, opinionated, questioning, full of sexual desire just didn't do.

This is the sort of book it is really hard to read sitting still, for a long period of time. The desire to stay reading the book battles with the palpably dynamic creation of Agnes, (the 'mad' seduced woman) and her rich vitality. The power of Schaffer's writing seems to demand the book is read whilst performing vigorous exercise, so great is her ability to make Agnes alive and pent up with feeling. Though this is a book about huge issues, and written with great intelligence, Shaeffer is a real, visceral, practical writer, who inhabits and feels the world she describes - so we inhabit and feel it too

The book's first chapter, describing a deeply graphic account of livestock farming in a rural homestead sets the scene well for the conflicting passions which will power the book forward. Shaeffer has a fabulous ability to turn concepts into powerful and memorable images

'Today, some women are beginning to talk of the body as if it were a mousetrap waiting to spring shut on the mind, and I suppose the body is like that, but the mind is there too, waiting to spring on the body. If I ever painted the inside of the human mind, this is how I would paint it : two lions, equally strong, ready to spring at each other's throats and tear one another apart'

I think this book is equal in stature and power to Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace Which no doubt I'm also going to re-read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Staggeringly fantastic book!, 8 Oct. 2011
I really loved this book and it was so difficult to put down! At first it is difficult to read what appears to be the ramblings of a mad woman, but they were! Once you get passed that and get into the story it is very profound. The story is based on a true story and is written exceptionally well with real 'larger than life' characters. The narrative is absolutely compelling that it still haunts me now. I think one review on the back of the book, says a modern day Tess of the D'urbervilles and I have to agree. I haven't read anything further from this author but will keep my eye out for her work. If this is an example of her work she is not to be missed!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars memorable, 27 Aug. 2009
By 
Di (I.O.W England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Madness of a Seduced Woman (Paperback)
I first read this book when i was 17, i am now 50 and have just read it again. All through my years this book stayed in my memory. At 17 you don,t remember the books you read if you read any at all, but somehow this one did. You won,t be disapointed.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Slow , Descriptive and Sad, 13 April 2013
By 
Cryspalitus (South Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
This book was recommended to me by two people. I was told it was slow at the beginning but to stick with it, so I did. Well, I have to admit it is beautifully written and there are some very detailed descriptions of the characters, their histories and the relevant places they lived.

By the time I got to the nitty gritty, I felt that I knew all that I needed to know about the main character Agnes. However, I did find it difficult to get into and after a while the descriptions became wearing and I started skipping over chunks of the descriptive text to move the story on. In fact, I think I was a third of the way through the book before if became really interesting.

I didn't particularly like Agnes and I thought she was selfish and didn't care about anyone except her own wants and needs. I didn't think she had any sense of responsibility or integrity. Her story was interesting and at times I did feel sorry for her but I also felt sorry for some of the other characters in the book, especially her parents, and yes, even Frank.

I hoped that there would be some redeeming features in this book and perhaps some sign of happiness but the author chose to clamp down on this whenever there was any sign of it. However, there was a form of peace. A beautiful and well written book but I felt quite depressed when I finished it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, 1 Feb. 2012
By 
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This is one of the best books I have ever read. Why? Well because the story is captivating, the writing is sublime(almost poetic in places), the depth of characterisation and feeling is wonderful and the ending is sad but poignant. This book will stay with you long after you have read the final sentence and that can't be a bad thing.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book written For Women......, 2 Feb. 2008
By 
The front cover captivated me the first time I saw it....and it has haunted me ever since! It tells the story of a young girl tormented and trapped by things that would make her turn of the century contemparies happy - such as beauty and wealth. Only halfway through the book - as being the mother of five children - I can only consume a few pages at a time! But addicted to the outcome of young Agnes and her ill fated doom!
BRILLIANT!!!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!!!, 15 Oct. 2008
By 
L. Brown (England) - See all my reviews
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I read this book earlier in the year and, so far, it remains the best book I have read this year.

I'm not a book critic. All I can say is that, up until now, I've lent out my copy of this and bought two copies as presents. One of those presents was for my sister, a woman who I don't believe would relate to any madness but who I imagine will still be gripped by this story.

This story really got under my skin. I felt when I wasn't reading it that I carried it around with me in my daily life. It was always in the background and I found it depressing... but it's worth it!

I read a book a week, a variety of fiction and non-fiction. Last year, my favourite book of the year was "A Perfect Spy" by John Le Carre. This year, my favourite book will be "The Madness of a Seduced Woman."
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A novel full of emotion & passion still with me., 1 Feb. 2000
By A Customer
› read Madness of a Seduced Women over 8 years ago and the memorys of this book still live in my heart and soul,i felt so hurt and betrayed for the beautiful girl,the title rings in my head over and over again,i read this book twice in one month,and now i would like to read it again and i am disappointed to find out that its hard to come by,i gave my copy away years ago and never got it back because it was enjoyed by all my friends and i dont know where it ended up,and now i would like to purchase a copy to stay with me,so i can read over and over again ...
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reviewer from the US, 30 Jan. 2008
By 
Howard L. Blau "attorney for Broadway performers" (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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I have been a most avid reader of Susan's works for so many years. For those fans of Susan's who have, somehow, not read "Madness...", be prepared to not sleep until you've finished this book. Her writing is exquisite. I can't overstate the case. Every time the 'next great new writer' appears and, all too often, disappoints, I go back to Susan's extensive library for the 'real deal'. If Susan's work is new to you, be prepared for a life's treat.
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The Madness of a Seduced Woman
The Madness of a Seduced Woman by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer (Paperback - 8 Mar. 1985)
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