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"This is the book I longed to read. It is the story of Lidian, the fascinating woman who was loved insufficiently by Emerson and perhaps too much by Thoreau. Amy Belding Brown has brought her back to life in a novel that glitters with intelligence and authenticity." - Geraldine Brooks, author of March and Caleb's Crossing
"In this extraordinary book, Amy Belding Brown has brought the 19th century to life. We may think of Ralph Waldo Emerson and his family and friends as static daguerreotypes, but in this story they lightly spring off the page with all the inconvenient desires and ambitions that are the texture of our own lives. A soaring imaginative leap, this book combines detailed history with a page-turning illicit love story. It’s a look at a rich moment in American History and a great read, a rare combination." - Susan Cheever, author of American Bloomsbury.
On a cold January evening in 1835, Lidian Jackson Emerson attends a reception for the popular young philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, who is charmed by her principled and independent mind. When he unexpectedly proposes a few weeks later, Lidian must decide if she should marry this brilliant man she admires but hardly knows or remain happily single, devoted to her family and community. The choice she makes is the first of many that will entangle her in the lives and ambitions of an extraordinary circle of New England men and women in the years leading up to the Civil War.
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