Praise for The Writing Master
"I tore through The Writing Master in one night. It's a murder mystery, a father-daughter story, and a detailed slice of 19th-century New England history. Lovely!"
~ Susan Cheever, author of Louisa May Alcott and American Bloomsbury
"Gradually, it grows clear that The Writing Master isn't just a mystery or a romance, it's a study of family unhappiness, mental illness and, above all, the condition of women in mid-19th-century America. For all the lightness of tone, it is filled with considerable darkness, and there is no assurance that all will end happily. But the book is chockablock with fascinating characters, especially the women....There are, naturally, surprises in store...as the narrative loops and plot swirls of The Writing Master are finally knotted together."
~ Michael Dirda in the Washington Post
“I don’t have enough superlatives to describe my delight with The Writing Master. I loved every moment I spent in the 19th-century world of Florey’s endearing and complicated characters. I loved their heartbreaking plights, their sparkling dialogue, their fully realized setting, their unexpected destinations. I will read it again while I wait for a sequel.”
~ Monica Wood, author of When We Were the Kennedys
The Writing Master, set in the hot summer of 1856, is the story of Charles Cooper, a Connecticut penman and teacher of writing at a time when a fast, legible script was indispensible for a gentleman, and the gloriously embellished script of a master of the art was held in deep respect. Charles’s anguished memories of the tragic accident that killed his wife and baby son are complicated by his encounter with Lily Prescott, an unconventional woman with a shady past and an uncertain future. When a brutal murder takes place just outside the city of New Haven, Charles becomes involved in its solution, and the consequences of his choices are both unexpected and far-reaching.
Strongly influenced by the author’s love of nineteenth-century fiction and her immersion in New England history -- and inspired by her 2009 nonfiction book, Script and Scribble: The Rise and Fall of Handwriting -- The Writing Master meticulously evokes another age – one of sooty railroad journeys, extravagantly inconvenient clothing, strict social codes, and severe penalties for their transgression – as well as the timeless passions and aspirations of a cast of memorable characters.