An Amazon Top 20 Book of 2015, the Amazon.com Featured Debut for October 2015, and one of Amazon's Top Ten Best Books of the Month. Shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize for New Fiction.
“Lizzie has been brought to life with exuberant force by the first-time author Gavin McCrea.” —Carmela Ciuraru, The New York Times
"The illiterate lover and eventual wife of a coauthor of The Communist Manifesto is the star of this enthralling work of historical fiction." —O: The Oprah Magazine
“Incisive… outlines a number of radical dislocations—in geography, nationality, class, and even love.” —The New Yorker
"Impressive. . . . Mr. McCrea draws sharp ironies from the gap between theory and actuality. . . . A memorable portrait of a woman looking for a cause of her own, distinct from the one made famous by her husband." —Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal
Very little is known about Lizzie Burns, the illiterate Irishwoman and longtime lover of Frederick Engels, coauthor of The Communist Manifesto. In Gavin McCrea’s first novel, the unsung Lizzie is finally given a voice that won’t be forgotten.
Lizzie is a poor worker in the Manchester, England, mill that Frederick owns. When they move to London to be closer to Karl Marx and family, she must learn to navigate the complex landscapes of Victorian society. We are privy to Lizzie’s intimate, wry views on Marx and Engels’s mission to spur revolution among the working classes, and to her ambivalence toward her newly luxurious circumstances. Lizzie is haunted by her first love (a revolutionary Irishman), burdened by a sense of duty to right past mistakes, and torn between a desire for independence and the pragmatic need to be cared for.
Yet despite or because of their profound differences, Lizzie and Frederick remain drawn to each other in this complex, high-spirited love story.
Trade paperback original with french flaps.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gavin McCrea was born in Dublin in 1978. He holds an M.A. from University College Dublin, and an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of East Anglia. He currently lives in London, England and northern Spain. Mrs. Engels is his first novel.