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Hardcover Letters from an Age of Reason Book

ISBN: 0060184914

ISBN13: 9780060184919

Letters from an Age of Reason

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good*

*Best Available: (missing dust jacket)

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Book Overview

An eloquent debut novel set amid two historical hotbeds of racial tension, moral hypocrisy, and shifting sexual convention Miss Arabella Leeds, the high-spirited teenage daughter of a prominent New... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

One of my favorite books!!

This was probably one of the best books I've ever read. Lengthy books don't scare me, and I enjoy the richness and description offered by taking your time to tell the story properly and flesh out the details of the characters personalities. I adored the topic of the book, and I LOVED Arabella, she was an amazing character with a vibrant personality and open-mindedness well before her time. I am anxiously awaiting this authors next books! I loved her writing style and found it an easy read that I could NOT put down. I missed the characters and story line long after I was finished with the book, and I was very sad to see it end. Bring on book #2!!! I'm hooked. Beth

My new favorite author!

Oh, Arabella. You vixen! You little minx! You have stolen my heart and I am in agony without you. You gave your love to Aubrey when it should have been given to me, but I forgive you both for allowing me, for a time, into your world. You have permitted me to experience adventures as I've never known and I am sad to be back in my own, mundane, world. Alas, all I can do is to re-read your adventures, and live through your delights, joys and heartbreaks once more!"Letters..." is a gripping and riveting novel set in the latter part of the 19th century, during the outbreak of the civil war in the United States. The author reveals a rich world of intrigue, love and tragedy told solely through the intermingling of the letters and diary entries of the two main characters. Arabella Leeds, a young woman of a well-to-do family, must discover what it means to be a woman, sexually, emotionally and intellectually, all the while challenged by the confines of her society. Aubrey Paxton too must confront his place in society as he defies his caste as a "high-yellow" slave in New Orleans and goes in search of the truth of his heritage.This story of two characters overcoming adversities to finally meet--as we the reader know they must--has certainly been told before, but Ms. Hague shrewdly places a new spin on this story by creating a world abundantly filled with riveting major/minor characters, historical details and sub-plots that keep the reader thoroughly rapt.Tread lightly when you enter this world because you will never be the same when you leave.A fantastic achievement not only for this wonderful first-time author but for anyone.

A winning and stunning debut

It's hard to believe that this book is the author's first. Despite its length and complexity, it flies by, thanks to lush but fast-paced writing, absorbing characters, and an intricate structure (I've never come across a novel written exactly this way) that keeps one guessing and reading to the end. The main characters, living during the mid-1860's, tell their tale through either diary entries (Arabella Leeds, a white wealthy upper-class female) or imaginary letters to a relative (Aubrey Paxton, a very light-skinned black slave). These two young people start off miles and worlds apart, but come together through a series of wonderfully original happenstances. Once they fall in love, they are faced with a new set of obstacles, which they they overcome with daring and style. Their exploits in the United States, England, and France are described in exacting detail, but the history isn't forced, nor does it get in the way of the plot. And the plot never gets in the way of the inner lives of Aubrey and Arabella, which are as vivid as any found on a page. Miss Hague very deftly explores modern subjects while remaining true to her chosen time period, so that the book has both depth and accessibility. She uses the familiar to lead into new territory, keeping the reader comfortable but fascinated. Particularly refreshing are her secondary characters: black, white, gay, straight, in-between, they are treated with an even hand, as fully developed as the novel's stars, and as realistically depicted within their time and culture. Certain scenes, like the accurate exploration of African tribal voodoo, or the pre-Civil War ditties sung by a young black girl, give this book the unselfconscious ring of truth and attest to the painstaking research it must have required, but it's ultimately the writer's skill at creating real lives that makes it so compelling. Part love story, part social commentary, part history-come-alive, but always emotionally true, this is a novel capable of reaching, and moving, a wide variety of readers. It also leaves one feeling good--a no-no to those who equate death and despair with depth, but a nice change of pace at present.

Two days of bliss.

This is the fastest-moving big book or the biggest page turner I have ever read. I went through it like a brushfire (700+ pages, 2 days, time off for meals, etc.) It's not the typical lightweight beach gunk you'd rip through either. It's very rich, there's a lot happening but the most compelling thing is the palpable reality of the two main characters, who together "write" the book. The author seems to be a borderline schizophrenic. She's also drunk on the 19th century, and writes (esp. as Arabella) effortlessly in the idiom of the time. I think the rendering of the period is worthy of a time machine. It's obviously researched but the details just seep in -- nothing says "HISTORICAL BACKGROUND." A complex and fascinating book, and a great read.

AMAZING debut--sexy, serious fun, set in authentic 1860's...

I'm a fan of classic literature, gothic fiction, and modern writing, and this book was a great mix of all of them. It's thoroughly original, and I just loved it. If you could cross "Sex and the City" with 'Gone with the Wind' or get Charles Dickens to write an erotic epic, you'd probably end up with something like this. It's a romance, but it's also an adventure, with bizarre characters, mystery subplots, and lots of twists and turns. The narration, where the two main characters switch off, was unusual and well done. The tension builds as the hero and heroine draw closer, and when they finally meet the results are totally satisfying. There were no loose ends by the end of the story, and although the most improbable things happen, the writing is so good that I believed every word. The period felt authentic and the historical details accurate. The author Nora Hague obviously had fun playing with cliches from past works of literature, and I had a great time too. This novel was like a nineteenth century rollercoaster going at twenty-first century speeds, it was a thrill a minute, and I couldn't put it down.
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