Becoming Belle

Category: Book
By (author): O'Connor, Nuala
Subject:  FICTION / Biographical
  FICTION / General
  FICTION / Historical
  FICTION / Romance / Historical / Victorian
Publisher: Penguin Canada
Published: August 2018
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 384
Size: 9.00in x 6.12in
Our Price:
$ 24.95
Availability:
In stock

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*A witty and inherently feminist novel about passion and marriage, based on a true story of an unstoppable woman ahead of her time in Victorian London

In 1887, Isabel Bilton is the eldest of three daughters of a middle-class military family, growing up in a small garrison town. By 1891 she is the Countess of Clancarty, dubbed "the peasant countess" by the press, and a member of the Irish aristocracy. Becoming Belle is the story of the four years in between, of Belle's rapid ascent and the people that tried to tear her down.
     With only her talent, charm, and determination, Isabel moves to London alone at age nineteen, changes her name to Belle, and takes the city by storm, facing unthinkable hardships as she rises to fame. A true bohemian and the star of a dancing double act she performs with her sister, she reigns over The Empire Theatre and The Corinthian Club, where only select society entertains. It is there she falls passionately in love with William, Viscount Dunlo, a young aristocrat. For Belle, her marriage to William is a dream come true, but his ruthless father makes clear he'll stop at nothing to keep her in her place.
     Reimagined by a novelist at the height of her powers, Belle is an unforgettable woman. Set against an absorbing portrait of Victorian London, hers is a timeless rags-to-riches story a la Becky Sharpe.
Review Quote*"Nuala O'Connor has the thrilling ability to step back nimbly and enter the deep dance of time―this is a hidden history laid luminously before us of an exultant Anglo-Irish woman navigating the dark shoals and the bright fields of a life." ―Sebastian Barry, award-winning author of The Secret Scripture and Days Without End
 
"Becoming Belle is a glorious novel in which Belle Bilton and 19th century London are brought roaring to life with exquisite period detail. In her portrayal of Belle, Nuala O'Connor delivers a seductive study of a complex and fascinating woman, who deserves the stage provided for her in this wonderful book."-Hazel Gaynor, New York Times bestselling author of A Memory of Violets

"O'Connor has a genius for finding the universal and unifying life essence of seemingly diverse women as they nurture their deepest sensibilities and draw upon their enduring strength. ... O'Connor's rendering of a now little-known nineteenth-century music hall dancer in Becoming Belle is thrillingly dramatic and achingly moving and profoundly resonant into this present era."-Robert Olen Butler, author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain

"Nuala O'Connor is a gifted writer who, with incandescent characters and mellifluous prose, captivates the reader with the same command as magnificent theatre. Becoming Belle is so mesmerizing you will be distraught when it ends and you remember that she lives no more. O'Connor has resurrected a fiery, inexorable woman who rewrites the script on a stage supposedly ruled by men. Sensual, witty, daring, and unapologetically forward, Belle Bilton and her cohorts will dance on in your mind long after the curtains fall."-Lisa Carey, author of The Stolen Child
Biographical NoteNovelist, short story writer, and poet NUALA O'CONNOR (a.k.a. Nuala Ní Chonchúir) is the author of three novels, including Miss Emily (about the poet Emily Dickinson and her Irish maid), five short story collections, and four collections of poetry. Miss Emily was longlisted for the 2017 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. She has won many fiction awards, including RTÉ radio's Francis MacManus Award, the Cúirt New Writing Prize, the Jane Geske Award, the inaugural Jonathan Swift Award, and the Cecil Day Lewis Award, among others. Her short story "Peach" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and she was shortlisted for the European Prize for Literature for her short story collection Nude.