This is an entertaining novel, inspired by the Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron but not based on her life. However, the novel has many modern sensibilities, not reflecting Victorian times or attitudes. Like Cameron's photographs, the book is overly sentimental.
Humphreys' beautifully crafted novel was inspired by the life of Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron and her muse Annie, the young household maid. Obsessed with the then new medium of photography, the unconventional Isabelle finds herself shunned by her peers and estranged from her husband. Her mapmaker husband indulges his own passion for adventure by living vicariously through the biographies of the great Arctic explorers. Tension and jealousies erupt when he encourages the maid to join him on these imaginary adventures, forcing husband and wife to vie for Annie's attentions.
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