‘Live all you can; it’s a mistake not to.’

This is the maxim of celebrated author Henry James and one which his typist Frieda Wroth tries to live up to. Despite her admiration for the great author, Frieda is marginalised and under-valued, lost between the faceless servants and the chattering guests.

The arrival of the hypnotic Morton Fullerton brings Frieda into sudden focus. As she is drawn into his confidence she finds herself at the centre of an intrigue every bit as engrossing as the novels she types. Her loyalties tested, Frieda must choose between anonymity in the presence of a literary master and an uncertain love with a man she barely knows.

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I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher, Freight Books, and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The summary of this novel made it sound a lot more exciting than it was. Pretty much nothing happened throughout the novel, even though it had the potential to be interesting, with Frieda’s psychic connection through the typewriter and Fullerton’s desire to steal back his own letters to Mr. James. Both of these story lines were never really explained or resolved, and that really bugged me. I also didn’t see the appeal of Mr. Fullerton – there was no romance written in at all, just an attraction that once again was never explained.

I’d really love to say more about this, but this novel really flopped for me, unfortunately. The writing was clear, and I was able to finish it, so this gets two stars from me, but this is all that I can give it in good conscience.

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