Kate Summerscale’s The Suspicions of Mr Whicher won the 2008 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction. Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace is an opening into another vanished world: repressed Victorian womanhood. It’s a compelling story of romance and fidelity, insanity, fantasy, and the boundaries of privacy in a society clinging to rigid ideas about marriage and female sexuality.
On a mild winter’s evening in 1850, Isabella Robinson set out for a party. Her carriage bumped across the wide cobbled streets of Edinburgh’s Georgian New Town and drew up at the home of the rich widow Lady Drysdale, a vivacious hostess whose soirees were the centre of an energetic intellectual scene.
Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace brings vividly to life a complex, frustrated Victorian wife, longing for passion and learning, companionship and love.