Cathrine Dickens, Outside the Magic Circle by Heera Datta

When Charles Dickens married Catherine in 1836, he was still relatively unknown in literary circles. It wasn’t until the publication of The Pickwick Papers that his career took off; ten years on, he was one of the best known authors of the time. Relatively little has been written of Dickens’ personal life, and even less of his wife Catherine. After the couple has been married for over two decades and had 10 children, Dickens accused his wife of being unfit as both a spouse and a mother. As was the custom of the time, Catherine was allowed to say little in her own defense. She was pushed from the family home and out of the lives of her children. The sad truth was that Charles really wanted to free up his time to be with his 18 year old mistress. This book is the imagined events of Catherine’s life both with her husband and children and the years she spent without them.

A searing look at one of Britain’s most beloved writers, who proved himself, in the end, to be nothing more than a man, and not a very good one at that. It is Catherine who shines in this novel, for her strength and her love for her children.

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