In Perdita, "Hilary Scharper deftly mines the beauty and wonder of both the human heart and nature in this haunting tale of enduring love."
--Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of The Painted Girls.
"Scharper's prose in Marged's voice is just as measured, just as alluringly old-fasioned as many a Pulitzer or Orange Prize winner before her... stuningly beautiful... Scharper accomplishes first-rate historical fiction... believable, charming and genuinely hypnotic to read... Her prose will haunt you."
--The Globe and Mail
Sourcebooks US 2014
La Courte Echelle CAN (French) 2014
Simon & Schuster CAN 2013
Historian Garth Hellyer is bemused when he is assigned to interview Marged Brice, a resident of Clarkson Home for The Aged as part of his work on the Longevity Project. Official records indicate that she is 134 years old, arousing suspicions of bureaucratic error or major fraud.
When Garth finally breaches the hurdles to meeting her, he is intrigued. Marged, looking as old as polished stone, her sharp mind drifting to reverie, tells him she wants to die but Perdita won’t let her. Not too old to be charmed by Garth, she entrusts him with her journal which he takes with him to his cottage close to the Cape Prius lighthouse of Marged’s childhood.
This remote peninsula on the Great Lakes was a summer respite for the wealthy, including a renowned artist who may have been Marged’s lover, and a prominent ornithologist whom Marged assisted. But Garth is also driven by his curiosity to learn about Perdita, the name of an infant girl in Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale who is left on a seacoast to die but is rescued by shepherds.
Hilary Scharper masterfully constructs Marged’s story set in the dawn of the 1900s and its impact on the unresolved issues in Garth’s life, offering us a glorious romance of gothic and modern. Fans of Jane Eyre, Rebecca, andPossession will enjoy the rich pageant of conflicting passions, wild storms, and the mystery of the supernatural.
Hilary Scharper who lives in Toronto, spent a decade as a lighthouse keeper on the Bruce Peninsula with her husband. She also is author of a story collection, DreamDresses and God and Caesar at the Rio Grande(University of Minnesota Press) which won the Choice Outstanding Academic Book Award. She received her Ph.D. from Yale University and is currently Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Toronto.
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