- File Size: 889 KB
- Print Length: 355 pages
- Publisher: allonymbooks; 1 edition (August 6, 2012)
- Publication Date: August 6, 2012
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B008U66T6U
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,553,942 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Equilibrium Kindle Edition
Kindle Feature Spotlight
Try Kindle Countdown Deals
Explore limited-time discounted eBooks. Learn more.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
In London in 1903 a housemaid throws herself into the Thames. The reason is as old as time: impregnated by the master of the house where she worked, Martha was turned out in disgrace to give birth in the workhouse and hand her child to someone else to raise.
But she fails in her attempt to leave this world, and for the next two years she and her sister Epiphany support themselves with a stage act, with Epiphany as a psychic and Martha as her spirit guide. All the tricks of the trade are in evidence, but we soon suspect that Epiphany may well be the real thing. Yet we are cautious. As we should be.
Adelia, Martha's former mistress, wife of the man who impregnated her, has a habit of sneaking out of her own house to go secretly to the theater, where she happens to see Epiphany's act. Adelia's sister-in-law has recently been widowed, and there is some mystery about her husband's death in South Africa during the Boer War. Perhaps, Adelia thinks, Epiphany can contact him to learn the truth about his fate.
So Epiphany is engaged to give a private seance at Adelia's house, and Martha returns to the place in which she was once a servant, so invisible, as servants are, that a mob cap and an Irish accent make an adequate disguise. Her motives are mixed. She wants to help her former mistress, but she also yields to the temptation to revisit her past, to learn the truth of what happened to her in that house. Did the master ever care for her, or was she just the pleasure of the moment? And once that question is answered, the next arises: did she truly care for him, as she once told herself, or was it something else she wanted?
Adelia has her own questions. She tries to understand why her husband has begun to neglect her, and she struggles with the difficulties of having married above her station, of being a tradesman's daughter among the aristocracy. Together these two women, Martha and Adelia, begin their search for truth.
The house itself conspires with the characters. Hidden corridors allow both servants and masters to navigate in secret both public and private rooms. Within the rigid structure, the secret passages subvert the discipline the house imposes, while within the rigid social structure of the time, the women must find clever ways, often subversive ways, to navigate their own lives.
The writing style is both unusual and effective. The author leaves things out, just as the stories we experience in real life leave things out. From a glimpse, we must construct a situation. And as in real life, we are not always certain what is going on or who is trustworthy. Most enjoyable are the author's surprising turns of phrase--original, poignant, illuminating. "... a lullaby gone lewd on gin..." And the odd historical reference. "Mrs. Keppel's knickers!"
The initial truth sought is the fate of a young man who died under mysterious circumstances in a faraway land. But the search for this truth sets loose one truth after another, until in the end no one is deceived.
It is written mostly in the present tense, which I don't typically enjoy, so it is a testament to how captivating the story is that I hardly noticed it. Be warned that it is quite long, so I wouldn't recommend starting it late in the evening (as I did - I was up until one in the morning).
Read the blurb, try the sample. If those interest you, you will not regret reading this book.
The beginning of the story starts slowly but I was pleasantly surprised as I read on to discover how the mystery surrounding Adelia’s brother’s death is revealed. However, I would have liked to have seen the historical elements to be stronger and expanded further on-such as the social changes in England during this period and I wanted to have a clearer picture on the details as to why Adelia’s brother went to South Africa during the Boer War then what was told.
Overall this story is rich in complex characters with remarkable depth despite their shortcomings. Epiphany’s voice gave- what I believe- a comfort to those she was interacting with at times and I thought she gave the story a calmness and a delicate reality to this tragic and harsh story that was unfolding. I recommend Equilibrium to readers who enjoys historical fiction with spiritualism influences.
Review previously published on the Historical Novel Society.
I rated this story three stars!
Most recent customer reviews
Author – Evie Woolmore
Star rating - ★★★★☆
Plot – interesting, sticky in parts, but overall good.Read more