Picked up from the library (I love living across the road from a decent-sized library!) after seeing a few recommendations around the blogosphere. This is a fictionalised biography of John Clare’s wife Patty – how she copes with his mental illness, a large family and increasing poverty.
While I enjoyed the writing, which was fluid and imaginative, I got a bit bored with the tales of country life on the poverty line. I found much of the story quite uncomfortable, because one does sympathise with the protagonist caught between her mad husband who is convinced he married his childhood sweetheart as well as her, and her philandering son-in-law.
Patty was a strong character – too strong in many ways, I wanted her to break down and scream and shout and be human. Eliza annoyed me, as did John (although the abrasive effects of his illness were the intention), I did like Parker (he reminded me of my own grandfathers), and there wasn’t really space to develop many more characters.