Hardback First Edition published in 1999 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson. Signed by author on free endpaper. Unclipped illustrated dust jacket slightly worn at extremities. Green cloth covered boards with gilt title on spine. Spine slightly bumped top and bottom. Very slight wear to extremities of covers. Clean and tightly bound with no further inscriptions.
As John Fowles did with Lyme Regis in The French Lieutenant's Woman, Warwick Collins makes the coastal town of Lymington more than just the backdrop to this unusual love story. Lymington is a salty presence throughout. It gives the story a unique sense of atmosphere and place. Ships are glanced out on the waves, furnaces burn on the shore providing the town with its major source of income - salt. The town, the sea and the countryside around are lovingly and skilfully evoked. The Marriage of Souls picks up the story of the two doctors, Grange and Hargood, initially encountered in The Rationalist which was published to critical acclaim in the UK and US in 1993. In this new novel, Collins explores the mind of the older doctor Hargood whose past history of betrayal and passion casts a shadow over his younger colleague, now his patient, Silas Grange. Grange - a prototype Victorian to Hargood's Georgian rake - has recently suffered a nervous breakdown brought on by the departure of the mysterious older woman Mrs Celia Quill. Mrs Quill's abrupt disappearance has left a question mark over her reputation in Lymington and many unanswered questions. Why did she leave? And what dark secret does she share with Hargood? Eventually, armed with the knowledge he has prised from the older man, Grange sets off in pursuit of the truth. Full of imagery and insight, both into the minds of the characters and into the England of the 1790s, this is a deeply intelligent and intriguing novel, both sophisticated and sensual