The Temple of Optimism by James Fleming
Famously, Jane Austen created a fictional universe from 'three or four families in a country village'. In this remarkable first novel, James Fleming achieves something very similar: out of the relationships of two men and one woman in Derbyshire in 1788 he has created a fiction that bears comparison with the great novelists of the nineteenth century. Superficially, the plot is simple. Anthony Apreece covets the land of his young neighbour, Edward Horne. Edward covets Daisy, Anthony's wife. On such simple foundations, James Fleming builds a novel of extraordinary richness, at once a wholly convincing representation of an eighteenth-century world and an utterly modern dissection of two of mankind's most powerful passions: greed and love.