Mrs. Engels: A Novel
Richly imagined.starred review, Publishers Weekly”Grabs the reader from the first sentence and doesn’t let go. . . Who knew reading about communists could be so much fun?”starred review, Kirkus ReviewsLonglisted for The Guardian 2015 First Book AwardVery little is known about Lizzie Burns, the illiterate Irishwoman and longtime lover of Frederick Engels, coauthor of The Communist Manifesto. In Gavin McCrea’s first novel, the unsung Lizzie is finally given a voice that won’t be forgotten.Lizzie is a poor worker in the Manchester, England, mill that Frederick owns. When they move to London to be closer to Karl Marx and family, she must learn to navigate the complex landscapes of Victorian society. We are privy to Lizzie’s intimate, wry views on Marx and Engels’s mission to spur revolution among the working classes, and to her ambivalence toward her newly luxurious circumstances. Lizzie is haunted by her first love (a revolutionary Irishman), burdened by a sense of duty to right past mistakes, and torn between a desire for independence and the pragmatic need to be cared for.Yet despite or because of their profound differences, Lizzie and Frederick remain drawn to each other in this complex, high-spirited love story.
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