Alice in Exhile : A Novel

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2002-11-12
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

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By critically acclaimed author Piers Paul Read,Alice in Exileis an exquisite historical novel featuring Alice Fry-a free-thinking and independent-minded woman in a world ruled by men-and the two men who love her. It is 1913 when Alice, the daughter of a radical publisher, meets Edward Cobb, the eligible young son of a baronet who has recently quit the army to pursue his political ambitions. Edward's family could accept his liaison with a girl they consider "fast," but when he proposes, they are appalled. When Alice's father becomes involved in a scandal, it becomes clear that Edward must choose between Alice and his political career. He breaks off the engagement, unaware that his lover is expecting his child. Desperate, Alice accepts the offer of a rich and charming (if somewhat predatory) Baron Rettenberg, returning to Russia with him to serve as a governess for his children, while Edward marries suitably, but unhappily. Two of the greatest cataclysms of the twentieth century-the Russian Revolution and World War I-serve as backdrops to Alice's story as she raises her young son, yearns for Edward, and begins to fall passionately for the Baron. Alice in Exileis Piers Paul Read's triumphant return to the fiction for which he is widely hailed-romantic, dramatic, and rich with historical detail and fascinating characters that make Alice's story an enchanting and unforgettable read.

Author Biography

Piers Paul Read studied history at Cambridge and is the author of thirteen acclaimed novels and four works of nonfiction, including the international bestseller Alive! and, most recently, The Templars. His previous novels have won the Hawthornden Prize and the Geoffrey Faber, Somerset Maugham, and James Tait Black Awards. He is married with four children and lives in London.

Table of Contents

"Few writers bring the past to life as vividly as Piers Paul Read. . . . Anyone who has enjoyed the best novels of Sebastian Faulks or William Boyd will love this one, and probably find it even better. The description of Alice's pre-revolution life in Russia is enchanting; the story once the first revolution breaks out [is] utterly gripping. It couldn't be better told. . . . A rare achievement."
-The Scotsman (U.K.)

"His accounts of revolutionary Russia . . . are brilliant. . . . It is a measure of Read's skill . . . that one never for a moment thinks of putting the book down."
-The Independent (U.K.)

"Moving, redemptive, and ultimately forgiving, Piers Paul Read's latest novel probes the baffling idiosyncrasies of the human condition. In Read's hands [the story] takes flesh as a novel that is traditional in form, yet full of energy and surprise."
-Saturday Times (U.K.)

"[Read's] account of the Russian Revolution has a haunting vividness which few authors could ever hope to match."
-Mail on Sunday (U.K.)

"Captures in a wealth of detail the essence of the period and testifies to Read's meticulous research."
-Literary Review (U.K.)

"Full of emotional, sensual and political awareness."
-Daily Telegraph (U.K.)

"It is a great relief to know that there are still such accomplished storytellers in our midst."
-Sunday Times (U.K.)

“Beautifully and vividly told, grippingly paced. . . . Read tells his story cogently but without shortcuts. He describes people, feelings, the wonders of nature and the intricacies of family life astutely, with nuance and sensibility. He is a joy to read, and one comes to the end of his tale with both fulfillment and sadness.”
--Los Angeles Times

"Alice in Exile is profoundly conventional, absolutely old-fashioned, and I confess to having missed a highly advertised fiesta in a Mexican mountain town just so I could stay in the hotel and find out what happened." --Carolyn See, Washington Post

"A book of great compassion, lively dialogue and fine romance. You leave the feast feeling stirred and contented."
--Houston Chronicle

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