By Mary Novik
"St Paul's cathedral stands like a cornered beast on Ludgate hill, taking deep breaths above the smoke. the hearth has made terrifying development within the evening and is last in at the historic monument from 3 instructions. outfitted of big stones, the cathedral is held to be invincible, yet unexpectedly Pegge sees what the flames covet: the 2 hundred and fifty ft of scaffolding erected round the damaged tower. as soon as the flames have a foothold at the wood scaffolds, they could bounce to the lead roof, and as soon as the timbers burn and the vaulting cracks, the cathedral might be toppled through its personal mass, a royal undergo introduced down by means of universal dogs." (p.9)
It is the nice fireplace of 1666. The implementing edifice of St. Paul's Cathedral, a landmark of London because the 12th century, is being lowered to rubble by way of the flames that engulf the City.
In the holocaust, Pegge and a small staff of fellows fight to save lots of the effigy of her father, John Donne, well-known love poet and the good Dean of St. Paul's. Making their method in the course of the warmth and confusion of the streets, they come at Paul's wharf. Pegge's husband, William Bowles, anxiously scans the wretched scene, unexpectedly knowing why Pegge has requested him to satisfy her at this determined spot.
The tale at the back of this dramatic rescue starts off 40 years ahead of the fireplace. Pegge Donne continues to be a rebellious lady, already too smart for an international that values studying purely in males, while her father starts off arranging marriages for his 5 daughters, together with Pegge. Pegge, in spite of the fact that, is eager to flavor the all-consuming wish that ended in her parents' clandestine marriage, infamous all through England for shattering social conference and for uplifting probably the most erotic and profound poetry ever written. She units out to win the affection of Izaak Walton, a guy infatuated along with her older sister.
Stung through Walton's rejection and jealous of her bodily mature sisters, the boyish Pegge turns into confident that it's her personal father who is aware the key of affection. She collects his poems, hoping to piece jointly her parents' background, trying to find a few connection to the mummy she slightly knew.
Intertwined with Pegge's compelling voice are these of Ann extra and John Donne, telling us of the courtship that encouraged many of the world's maximum poetry of affection and actual longing. Donne's seduction leads Ann to desert social conference, danger her father's sure wrath, and elope with Donne. it's the undoing of his profession and the 2 are left to fight in a wedding that results in her dying in her 12th childbirth at age thirty-three.
In Donne's ultimate days, Pegge attempts, in ways in which push the limits of daughterly behaviour, to find the main to release her personal sexuality. After his loss of life, Pegge nonetheless struggles to unfastened herself from an obsession that threatens to force her past the boundaries of cause. Even after she marries, she can't suppress her independence or her wish to event remarkable love.
Conceit brings to lifestyles the teeming, bawdy streets of London, the intrigue-ridden courtroom, and the lushness of the seventeenth-century English geographical region. it's a tale of many sorts of love — erotic, familial, unrequited, and obsessive — and the unpredictable workings of the human center. With characters plucked from the pages of historical past, Mary Novik's debut novel is a sublime, fully-imagined tale of lives you'll find not easy to go away at the back of.