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"The illiterate lover and eventual wife of a coauthor of The Communist Manifesto is the star of this enthralling work of historical fiction." O: The Oprah Magazine
"Lizzie has been brought to life with exuberant force." The New York Times
"Impressive. . . . A memorable portrait of a woman looking for a cause of her own, distinct from the one made famous by her husband." The Wall Street Journal
"Lizzie is as spirited a narrator as a reader could hope to encounter." The Minneapolis Star Tribune
Very little is known about Lizzie Burns, the illiterate Irishwoman and longtime lover of Frederick Engels, coauthor of The Communist Manifesto. In Gavin McCrea’s debut novel, Lizzie is finally given a voice that won’t be forgotten.
Lizzie is a poor worker in the Manchester, England, mill that Frederick owns. When they move to London to be closer to Karl Marx and family, she must learn to navigate the complex landscapes of Victorian society. We are privy to Lizzie’s intimate, wry views on Marx and Engels’s mission to spur revolution among the working classes, and to her ambivalence toward her newly circumstances.
Yet despite their profound differences, Lizzie and Frederick are drawn together in this high-spirited love story.
Gavin McCrea was born in Dublin in 1978 and currently lives in London and northern Spain. He holds an MA and a PhD from the University of East Anglia. Mrs. Engels is his first novel.