Monday, December 26, 2016

The Last Days of Leda Grey by Essie Fox

Leda Grey is novel about an actress who has lived in a crumbling cliff top house for more than half a century, until she confides her story to the journalist, Ed Peters ... who rapidly finds himself immersed inside her dark and eerie world.

She has also written three Victorian novels, the first of which - The Somnambulist - was shortlisted for the UK National Book Awards, featured on Channel 4's TV Book Club, and has been optioned for TV/film.

Elijah's Mermaid, features the hypocrisy in Victorian art and literature. It has brothels, asylums, and freak shows...not forgetting the mermaids!

The Goddess and the Thief is an 'oriental gothic', with Indian Maharajahs, Hindu gods and sacred diamonds ... including candlelit seances which are held in English drawing rooms.

Her website is:

She blogs as The Virtual Victorian, The Eclectic Edwardian, and The Fiction Fox.

You can find her on Twitter as @essiefox, and on Facebook as Essie Fox Books.
A bewitching novel about an enigmatic silent film actress, and the volatile love affair that left her a recluse for over half a century - for fans of Sarah Waters and Tracy Chevalier.
During the oppressive heat wave of 1976 a young journalist, Ed Peters, finds an Edwardian photograph in a junk shop in the Brighton Lanes. It shows an alluring, dark-haired girl, an actress whose name was Leda Grey.
Enchanted by the image, Ed learns Leda Grey is still living - now a recluse in a decaying cliff-top house she once shared with a man named Charles Beauvois, a director of early silent film. As Beauvois's muse and lover, Leda often starred in scenes where stage magic and trick photography were used to astonishing effect.
But, while playing a cursed Egyptian queen, the fantasies captured on celluloid were echoed in reality when Beauvois suspected a love affair between Leda and her leading man. A horrific accident left Leda abandoned and alone for more than half a century - until Ed Peters finds her and hears the secrets of her past, resulting in a climax more haunting than any to be found in the silent films of Charles Beauvois.
I was captivated by the description of this novel... I simply had to have it, had endure it, had sink deep into the world of the story. I am a devoted fanatic to the era, therefore my first fear was whether Fox will be able to approach it correctly, but just after a few paragraphs I was sure: this will not be a problem. Fox created a magical world from the silver screen a world of never ending summer, filled with ladybirds that swarmed everywhere.
This is a very atmospheric read. I enjoyed being immersed in this world of dissolving glamour; where you just sense that everything is slowly and surely, waning away. This is a novel of secrets, jealousy, love and obsession. A very good read and an interesting historical novel. It fitted right into my Christmas nostalgic mood.
I love her speech. I love Fox's use of language and her beautiful, lyrical prose.

Each chapter begins with a quote from Shakespeare and very cleverly create an ominous sense that something deeply unpleasant lurks in the shadows of the house and of Leda's past. The quotes were very effective in creating suspense and tension to the unraveling story.

Fox then switches to italics and we are privy to Leda's story. Her voice is strong and provides a good contrast to that of Ed's. Again, Leda's passages are exquisitely written. They are engaging and intriguing as well as full of metaphors, connotations and analogies.
It is a great book and it is impossible not to want to gallop to the end and reveal all of Leda's secrets. Just read it. You'll love it.5FOXGIVEN