Title: Birdcage Walk
Author: Helen Dunmore
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Grove Atlantic
Release Date: November 7, 2017
It is 1792 and Europe is seized by political turmoil and violence.
Lizzie Fawkes has grown up in Radical circles where each step of the French Revolution is followed with eager idealism.
But she has recently married John Diner Tredevant, a property developer who is heavily invested in Bristol’s housing boom, and he has everything to lose from social upheaval and the prospect of war. Soon his plans for a magnificent terrace built above the two-hundred-foot drop of the Gorge come under threat.
Diner believes that Lizzie’s independent, questioning spirit must be coerced and subdued. She belongs to him: law and custom confirm it, and she must live as he wants.
In a tense drama of public and private violence, resistance and terror, Diner’s passion for Lizzie darkens until she finds herself dangerously alone.
I love books that are set in historical England. I always learn things from them. I was a little lost when at the beginning because I wasn’t familiar with what was happening at that time period.
The story began with a contemporary narrator who found Lizzie’s mother’s grave. He wants to learn more about Julia but there isn’t anything documented about her. Then Lizzie’s story begins. I wish the first narrator was revisited throughout the story. I enjoyed his part, while he searched for information on Lizzie’s mother.
Lizzie’s mother, Julia, was a feminist. She believed in fighting for women’s rights. This was nice to see in a historical setting, though I have to wonder how realistic that would be during that time.
The story was narrated by Lizzie, but I didn’t feel connected to her. She did things that didn’t make sense and she couldn’t even explain herself. I found her annoying most of the time.
The story was very character driven. There wasn’t a lot of plot happening. In the last quarter of the book, the story picked up when some drama happened. But I didn’t find it exciting for most of the book.
I found this book a little disappointing. It just wasn’t exciting enough for me.