The entertaining latest from Fitzgerald (The Beginning of Spring,
1989, etc.) - as much a story of love in Edwardian England as a
gentle but witty sendup of the genre and the age. When young Fred
Fairly, son of an impecunious clergyman, becomes a junior fellow at
St. Angelicus College in Cambridge, he expects to devote his life
to science. Founded by a pope in the 15th century, St. Angelicus is
the smallest college in Cambridge - so small that fellows can meet
only in the dining hall or the courtyard. Unlike other colleges, it
has also remained closed to female visitors - no woman can pass
through its gates - and insists that its fellows be unmarried.
Ambitious and keen on science, Fred should be happy, but he has
fallen in love with the mysterious Daisy Saunders, whom he met
after they were both thrown off bicycles by a recklessly driven
cart and horse. Daisy is a young woman of character and beauty, but
"not knowing how dangerous generosity is to the giver," she's been
unfairly dismissed from her nursing position in London. Now she's
come down to Cambridge with a sleazy journalist out to seduce her,
but the accident intervenes. Daisy recovers and finds a low-level
job; Fred courts her and proposes, but at the trial of the
cart-driver the truth about poor Daisy's background is revealed,
and their love seems doomed. As the genre demands, fate
benevolently intervenes. Daisy, hearing cries of distress, enters
St. Angelicus, where she is delayed long enough to be reunited with
Fred. All the correct Edwardian nuances, but often turned upside
down. A not-too-serious postmodern and feminine riposte to
collegiate misogyny and some of E.M. Forster. (Kirkus Reviews)
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It is 1912, and at Cambridge
University the modern age is knocking at the gate. Fred Fairly, a
Junior Fellow at the college of St Angelicus, where for centuries
no female, not even a pussy cat, has been allowed to set foot,
lectures in physics. Science, he is certain, will explain
everything. Until into Fred's orderly life come Daisy. Fred is
smitten. Why have I met her? he wonders. How can I tell if she's
quite what she seems? Fred is a scientist. To him the truth should
be everything. But even scientists make mistakes.
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