Effie Gray, a beautiful and intelligent young socialite, rattled the foundations of England's Victorian age. Married at nineteen to John Ruskin, the leading art critic of the time, she found herself trapped in a loveless, unconsummated union after Ruskin rejected her on their wedding night. On a trip to Scotland she met John Everett Millais, Ruskin's protege, and fell passionately in love with him. In a daring act, Effie left Ruskin, had their marriage annulled, and entered into a long, happy marriage with Millais. Suzanne Fagence Cooper has gained exclusive access to Effie's previously unseen letters and diaries to tell the complete story of this scandalous love triangle. In Cooper's hands, this passionate love story also becomes an important new look at the work of both Ruskin and Millais with Effie emerging as a key figure in their artistic development. Effie is a heartbreakingly beautiful book about three lives passionately entwined with some of the greatest paintings of the pre-Raphaelite period.
Effie / Suzanne Fagence Cooper
“England’s straitlaced Victorian era rejected women’s rights on so many levels. Here, Effie Gray’s struggles with society, divorce and independence are documented in a splendid performance by Sophie Ward. With a cultured British lilt ward details Effie’s unhappy first marriage, never consummated, to art critic and patron John Ruskin as well as her second gloriously happy but controversial union with artist John Millais. Although Cooper had to piece together some of Effie’s biography, those interpretations provide the cohesiveness necessary for her depiction of this prejudiced, stuffy era and the hardships faced by women. Against this backdrop Effie’s strength, intelligence, and determination are all the more noteworthy. Cooper and Ward boldly introduce listeners to a bold pioneer who paved the way for all women.” ~AudioFile (B.J.P.)