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Maud Bailey is a scholar researching the life and work of her distant relative, a little known 19th-century poet named Christabel LaMotte. Roland Mitchell is looking into an obscure moment in the life of another Victorian poet, the celebrated Randolph Henry Ash. Together, the two uncover a dark secret in Ash’s life: though apparently happily married, he conducted a torrid affair with LaMotte that has never before come to light. As Maud and Roland dig into the facts, they also find themselves falling in love.


About the Author

A S Byatt

A S Byatt was born in Yorkshire in 1936. She attended a Quaker school in York, and went on to study at Cambridge. In 1972 she became a full-time lecturer. She taught at the Central School of Art & Design, and was Senior Lecturer in English at University College, London, before becoming a full-time writer in 1983.

She is the author of The Biographer’s Tale and the quartet, The Virgin in the Garden, Still Life, Babel Tower and A Whistling Woman, and her highly acclaimed collections of short stories include Sugar and Other Stories, The Matisse Stories, The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye, Elementals and Little Black Book of Stories. In 1990 her novel Possession won the Booker Prize and the Irish Times/Aer Lingus International Fiction Prize.

A S Byatt was appointed CBE in 1990 and DBE in 1999.