Martha Peake: A Novel of the Revolution

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Viking, 2000 - Fiction - 339 pages
13 Reviews
Summoned by his elderly uncle, Ambrose Tree rides out across the Lambeth Marsh to Drogo Hall. As he settles down by a crackling fire in a drawing room of the giant old house, a large glass of Hollands and water in his hand, the old man begins to tell him the story of Harry and Martha Peake: how Harry, in a moment of folly, was horribly disfigured by the brute intent of a burning roof beam. How his wife perished, and his livelihood as a smuggler - along the wild coasts of eighteenth century Cornwall - was lost. And how his daughter Martha, his sole remaining comfort, a proud girl with a shock of long red hair, set out with him for the haven of broken men, for London.
In two small rooms over a pub in Cripplegate Street, Harry and Martha live in a rough hewn harmony until, in time, the lacerations upon Harry's soul grow as monstrous as his skeletal deformities. He becomes violent, and Martha is forced to flee to the sanctuary of an English nobleman, the famous anatomist Lord Drogo. Yet there is no real safety in that man's house. The distance between father and daughter is too short, their bond too strong. When Harry commits a final unspeakable act, Martha is forced to seek a more distant place of refuge and sets sail for America.

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Review: Martha Peake: A Novel of the Revolution

User Review  - Susan - Goodreads

The story kept me wanting to get to the next chapter to find out how Martha Peake's story continued. The narrator's premise changed from hearing his aged uncle tell about his role in the heroine's ... Read full review

Review: Martha Peake: A Novel of the Revolution

User Review  - Linda - Goodreads

English author Patrick McGrath has been hailed as the master of the neo-gothic, but he prefers to describe himself as the creator of "stories of love and madness". I haven't read his other novels ... Read full review

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About the author (2000)

Patrick McGrath was born in London in 1950 and grew up near Broadmoor Hospital where his father was the medical superintendent for many years. He attended Stonyhurst College and received his BA in English from the University of London. Among other jobs, he worked as an orderly in a mental hospital and as a teacher before becoming a writer. He is seen as a leader of the neo-Gothic writers; his books include Spider, The Grotesque, Port Mungo, Trauma and Asylum. His novel Martha Peake won the Premio Flaiano Prize in Italy. McGrath resides in New York City and London.

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