From the beginning there have been those who can twist words in such a fashion as to make you feel. Whether it is poetry, fiction or nonfiction, the abilities of these authors are the staples of our classic literature.
In Louisa Treger’s novel The Lodger, we are taken back in history to a time of turbulence. This was a time when women could not cast a vote and had very little say. This was also a time of literary genius and the likes of authors such as H.G. Wells and Dorothy Richardson.
The two are brought together through Dorothy’s friendship with Wells’ wife Jane, and the two writers immediately realize they are very alike–shared souls. For Dorothy who has faced so much hardship and pain, the companionship of both Wells and his wife means everything to her. While she only occasionally stays with them, she finds herself deeper in thrall than is comfortable, and imagines she can see the knowledge of that on her friend Jane’s face.
Unable to deny her attraction, Dorothy is fascinated by the depth she can see in Wells and struggles to keep her feelings under control. Yet Wells is a man of passion, and Dorothy is a forbidden fruit he must have. As the dance of attraction begins the tug of emotions is very powerful. Wells will not let up on what he feels is his muse, and they fall into a complicated sexual and emotional relationship with threatens to tear apart his marriage, and casts Dorothy into the position of the other woman.
As the pain of betrayal continues, turbulence is also occurring around the rights of women. The danger and risk of abuse from belonging to the suffragette movement is ugly and creates a backdrop of danger to the illicit romance. Can Dorothy pull her self-respect together and find her own way?
You will find yourself immersed in the lives and situations drawn together by Treger. Her characters are quite interesting and depicted with a realism that is moving. Using the travails of the time, she transports us into a very uncomfortable time when women are fighting for their own. The danger of a belief of equality is daunting. Using the authors as characters makes for a poignant story too riddled with both danger and passion. The betrayal and humiliation makes you feel. It is difficult to pin down who you would root for; each of her characters has a strength of personality that draws you.
If you enjoy history, romance and biographies, this would be a perfect fit for your library. It would also be a great book for a reading and discussion group. The suffragette movement always creates a dialogue, and the forbidden romance will liven the discussion.