The Mathematics of Love
is a poignant chronicle of two people, separated by centuries, whose lives—amazingly, impossibly—become interwoven in a brilliant tapestry of tragedy, memory, and time. Following alternate but intimately connected stories—of a curious, promiscuous teenager in her season of exile and awakening in the English countryside in 1976, and a nineteenth-century soldier damaged on the fields of Waterloo, struggling to find his way back to life with the help of a compassionate, extraordinary woman—Emma Darwin's breathtaking narrative brilliantly evokes the horrors of war, the pain of loss, the heat of passion, and the enduring power of love.
Gorgeously written, fascinating and engrossing, THE MATHEMATICS OF LOVE is a sexy, heartbreaking, glorious novel by a major new literary star.
This is that rare thing, a book that works on every conceivable level... an uncommonly good read...remarkable...this is a novel of extremes: there is suffering, violent and disturbing portraits of war and of personal loss; but equally extreme moments of joy and human undertanding. At its core are the emotions that most shape us - love and loss...[Emma Darwin] builds layer upon layer of emotion and history until, like a photographic print emerging from its chemical bath, the final picture is revealed...A real achievement' -- The Times
'Convincing and involving...a book to lose yourself in' -- Daily Mail
''A daring debut novel...Emma Darwin's prose is golden and convincing. Addictive' -- Daily Express
'The reader is spellbound...electrifying...magical' -- Independent
'This sweeping tale of nineteenth-century war and courtship and twentieth-century teenage rebellion has a real flavour of its own that will grip you to the end...an accomplished, vividly realised debut' -- Marie Claire
[An] absorbing historical novel of love and war...linked themes between the narratives flower - painting versus photography, female liberation versus repression, the complexities of love' -- Guardian
"The strange allure of Emma Darwin's debut novel, The Mathematics of Love
, reflects its enigmatic title...Two very different characters, separated by more than 150 years, hold our attention here. The first is Anna Ware, a rueful teenager who's already experienced enough disappointment to make her precociously cynical about matters of the heart. Her errant mother has packed her off to spend the summer of 1976 in the English countryside with an uncle at a shuttered boarding school... Anna's portal to a different world is a stash of old letters written by an early owner of the estate. These documents are faded and difficult to read, but with little else to do, Anna is gradually drawn into the life of Stephen Fairhurst, a veteran of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
If you're in a book club torn between lovers of 19th-century and modern fiction, The Mathematics of Love may be just the thing to square the circle. The bilingual dexterity of this novel is one of its several triumphs as Darwin alternates between the murky moral chaos of the 1970s and the rigid formality of the genteel class in the early 19th century. Anna and Fairhurst, living in the same space though separated by time and unimaginable social changes, are equally haunting characters, the parallels between their lives tantalizing and evocative.... Struggling to understand the bizarre crises of her summer and the passionate affair she read about in Fairhurst's old letters, Anna realizes that she can't fathom the way people behave. A friend assures her, "The mathematics of love defy arithmetic." Surely that's true, but the two stories that Darwin tells here add up to something hauntingly beautiful." Ron Charles, Washington Post
Emma Darwin was born in 1964 and brought up in London, Manhattan and Brussels. THE MATHEMATICS OF LOVE is her first novel.