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Extended Audio Sample Amherst, by William Nicholson Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: William Nicholson Narrator: Lesa Lockford, Justine Eyre Publisher: Dreamscape Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From an Oscar-nominated screenwriter and the author of Motherland comes a novel about two love affairs set in Amherst—one in the present, one in the past, and both presided over by Emily Dickinson.

Alice Dickinson, a young advertising executive in London, decides to take time off work to research her idea for a screenplay: the true story of the scandalous, adulterous love affair that took place between a young, Amherst college faculty wife, Mabel Loomis Todd, and the college’s treasurer, Austin Dickinson, in the 1880s. Austin, twenty-four years Mabel’s senior and married, was the brother of the reclusive poet Emily Dickinson, whose house provided the setting for Austin and Mabel’s trysts.

Alice travels to Amherst, staying in the house of Nick Crocker, a married English academic in his fifties. As Alice researches Austin and Mabel’s story and Emily’s role in their affair, she embarks on her own affair with Nick, an affair that, of course, they both know echoes the affair that she’s writing about in her screenplay.

Interspersed with Alice’s complicated love story is the story of Austin and Mabel, historically accurate and meticulously recreated from their voluminous letters and diaries. Using the poems of Emily Dickinson throughout, Amherst is an exploration of the nature of passionate love, its delusions, and its glories. This novel is playful and scholarly, sexy and smart, and it reminds us that the games we play when we fall in love have not changed that much over the years.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The poetry and history go down easy, the lovers fall hard, and the tragic, treacherous terrain of romantic entanglement is well explored in what more than one reader saw as ripe material for a screenplay.”

    Elle

  • “Nicholson not only gives us an entertaining and often touching novel but also does a larger service. He reminds us of how well Dickinson knew the human heart, including its loneliness, and that humans, of any century, yearn for deep connection, often against the odds.”

    Buffalo News

  • “Weaving voices of the past and present, Nicholson creates an engaging, many-faceted novel that deftly explores the timeless torments of love and loneliness.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Nicholson…offers up a cinema-ready exploration of love and lust in New England past and present…The historical segments—in many ways more vivid and lively than the somewhat melodramatic contemporary ones—are well researched.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Nicholson’s prose is sharp while not giving too much away…The novel is a perfect accompaniment for a long winter’s evening…readers who enjoy their historical fiction mixed [with] modern mystery will enjoy Amherst.”

    Historical Novels Review

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