THE HONEYMOON by Dinitia Smith

Based on the life of George Eliot, famed author of Middlemarch, this captivating account of Eliot’s passions and tribulations explores the nature of love in its many guises. Called “A mesmerizing reimagination of George Eliot’s accursed marriage” by Vanity Fair.

FROM THE PUBLISHER

Dinitia Smith’s spellbinding novel recounts George Eliot’s honeymoon in Venice in June 1880 following her marriage to a handsome young man twenty years her junior. When she agreed to marry John Walter Cross, Eliot was recovering from the death of George Henry Lewes, her beloved companion of twenty-six years. Eliot was bereft: left at the age of sixty to contemplate profound questions about her physical decline, her fading appeal, and the prospect of loneliness.

In her youth, Mary Ann Evans—who would later be known as George Eliot—was a country girl, considered too plain to marry, so she educated herself in order to secure a livelihood. In an era when female novelists were objects of wonder, she became the most famous writer of her day—with a male nom de plume. The Honeymoon explores different kinds of love, and of the possibilities of redemption and happiness even in an imperfect union. Smith integrates historical truth with her own rich rendition of Eliot’s inner voice, crafting a page-turner that is as intelligent as it is gripping.

PRAISE FOR THE HONEYMOON

“[This] appealing fictionalized biography of the revered British novelist George Eliot imagines the inner impulses and passions hidden under a cloak of 19th-century propriety… Smith’s portrait of the author is nicely detailed, effectively locating her in time, place, and society.”
–Kirkus Reviews

“Smith’s portrait of Eliot’s honeymoon with Cross … plausibly brings to life a puzzling period of her life. With the historical record lacking or shrouded, it is the perfect example of when fictional storytelling about an eminent person is warranted.” –The Washington Post

“Smith’s enchanting account humanizes a figure renowned as much for her refutation of conventional female stereotypes and social limitations as for her genius for story and language. Eliot’s personal life is reflected here as a series of deep insecurities regarding her appeal to men and the contributions her partners made to her work — “Felix Holt,” “Middlemarch,” “Daniel Deronda” — novels that endure as some of the most formative texts in English literature.” –The New York Times Book Review

“Smith’s vivid exploration of the mind of author George Eliot, given name Marian Evans, and her late-in-life marriage to John Walter Cross raises the bar for historical fiction…Eliot fans will certainly inhale every page, but any historical-fiction readers will thoroughly relish Smith’s tale of a remarkable woman and an unlikely Victorian love.” –Booklist (STARRED REVIEW)

“A mesmerizing reimagination of George Eliot’s accursed marriage.” –Vanity Fair

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dinitia Smith is the author of four novels, including The Illusionist, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Her stories have appeared in numerous publications and she has won a number of awards for her writing, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ingram Merrill Foundation. Until recently, Smith was a cultural correspondent for the New York Times specializing in literature and the arts. She has taught at Columbia University, New York University, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, and elsewhere.