Helen Keller in Love by Rosie Sultan - 256 pages
Helen Keller has long been a towering figure in the pantheon of world heroines. Yet the enduring portrait of her in the popular imagination isThe Miracle Worker, which ends when Helen is seven years old.
Rosie Sultan’s debut novel imagines a part of Keller’s life she rarely spoke of or wrote about: the man she once loved. When Helen is in her thirties and Annie Sullivan is diagnosed with tuberculosis, a young man steps in as a private secretary. Peter Fagan opens a new world to Helen, and their sensual interactions—signing and lip-reading with hands and fingers—quickly set in motion a liberating, passionate, and clandestine affair. It’s not long before Helen’s secret is discovered and met with stern disapproval from her family and Annie. As pressure mounts, the lovers plot to elope, and Helen is caught between the expectations of the people who love her and her most intimate desires.
My Review: 2 stars
For as much as I love revisionist historical fiction, I just couldn’t connect with this book. The relationship between Peter and Helen seemed no unnatural that it was hard to read. I also found many times that Anne was aware of her surroundings and privy to what what was being said without any mention of who was spelling it into her hand. I did like some of the language the author used to express Anne’s feelings about the dark, about lonliness and what it felt like to be blind. Her description of using one’s hand on the throat to feel vibrations and the other on the mouth was also interesting me. I suppose I just wished this book offered more about Helen personally, created a more realistic relationship with Peter and didn’t focus as much on her socialist viewpoints.
Quotes I liked:
-“I sat taller, to suppress my impatience. It was infuriating, this waiting. I was thirty-seven years old. And like a child, an infant, really, I was at the mercy of others. Hour after hour of my life was spent waiting.”
- “The truth is, I was never unkown, but often very lonely.”
Tags: 2013, Historical Fiction, Romance,
Labels: 2013, Historical Fiction, Romance