'A joy to read - a wonderful, rich book.' Dame Emma Thompson
The scandalous love triangle at the heart of the Victorian art world. Effie Gray, a Scottish beauty, was the heroine of a great Victorian love story. Married at nineteen to John Ruskin, she found herself trapped in a loveless and unconsummated union. When her husband invited his protege John Everett Millais away on holiday, she and Millais fell in love. Effie would inspire some of Millais's most haunting images, and embody Victorian society's fears about female sexuality.
Effie risked everything by leaving Ruskin. She hoped to find fulfilment as Millais's wife, becoming a society hostess and manager of his studio, but controversy and tragedy continued to stalk her. Suzanne Fagence Cooper has gained exclusive access to Effie's family letters and diaries to reveal the reality behind the scandalous love-triangle. She shows the rise and fall of the Pre-Raphaelite circle from a new perspective, through the eyes of a woman who was intimately involved in the private and public lives of its two greatest figures. Effie's charm and ambition helped to shape the careers of both her husbands. Effie is a compelling portrait of the extraordinary woman behind some of the most famous Pre-Raphaelite paintings.
'At last Effie Millais has been given her voice and it is marvelous one. Effie emerges as a courageous, intelligent, resourceful, woman who refused to go quietly. In unsettling Victorian society, she left the door ajar for generations of women. Suzanne Fagence Cooper elegantly brings to life the glittering world of Victorian art and the socially complicated one of a woman who wed the two cultural giants of the age and not only survived, but thrived! Effie's story is a haunting one. I couldn't put it down.'* Linda Lear, author of Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature *
'A joy to read - a wonderful, rich book.'-- Emma Thompson
'This is an exceptional book about an exceptional trio and the exceptional families that formed them.'* The Scotsman *
'Effie Gray's story is extraordinary and Cooper feasts upon it with appetite ... I cannot recommend Fagence Cooper's biography of Effie Gray more highly to anyone with a heart, a liking for a good read and an interest in things Victorian.'-- Henrietta Garnett * Literary Review *
Suzanne Fagence Cooper is the author of the Victorian Woman and Pre-Raphaelite Art in the V&A Museum. Her knowledge of Victorian art has led to her appearing on a number of television programmes on BBC2 and Channel 4. She lives in Yorkshire with her husband and two daughters.