The Crimson Bed, by Loretta Proctor, is a tale of romance and family life set around the fringes of the pre Raphaelite artistic movement in England in the mid nineteenth century As such, historical figures such as Rosetti, Ruskin and Millais hover in the background, while the book s focus is on those who circled around them, as artists, art lovers, dealers, or collectors Art, whether painted or verbal, is central to the plot, along with the pretences that art thrives on, such as contemporary models of humble origin being portrayed as nobility, or tragic heroines.But Loretta also probes those darker and vastly damaging pretences which lurk within human relationships Lies, deceit, and the natural urge to bury past indiscretions all threaten the lives and wellbeing of the characters Each person has a facet of their past which they would prefer to hide, even knowing the corrosive effect that concealment has on friendship and love These interlocking secrets increase in their destructive potential through the book, and the central question becomes whether particular relationships can or cannot survive the revelations, as they inevitably surface.One of the aspects of the book I found most fascinating was its view of society at the time For a few, the complex web of Victorian social expectations provided reassuring and proper boundaries to conduct But for many others, it was an arbitrary and constricting prison But how could it be challenged For some, the retreat towards a romanticised past appealed Others wanted to accelerate towards a different future Still others wanted to directly subvert the status quo by means of acts that society deemed illegal or immoral The world of artists in The Crimson Bed tried all of these, and.Technically, the Crimson Bed has been well prepared, with a mere handful of formatting slips I found that the last few chapters, while crucial in completing some aspects of the plot, seemed a bit disjointed, and I wonder if the transition from continuous action to future consequence could have been smoother However, this did not detract from my enjoyment of the book, and my appreciation of a world I knew little about. I thoroughly enjoyed this book The author knows so much about her subject and weaves this knowledge into the beautifully written finctional story Her sense of history and her ability to make her readers equate almost be there with the era of the story The characters are well drawn and totally believable It s a great read and I totally recommend it to Goodread members. I became so entangled in the story and characters that I abandoned TV and other distractions in order to spend time in the world of The Crimson Bed One of the aspects that made me very happy was the believability I m a stickler for logic, no matter how outrageous the storyline I must be able to think, Yes, this is believable I get it The Crimson Bed never failed me There were times when I wanted to shout No but this reaction didn t come from disbelief or annoyance On the contrary, it came from acceptance and understanding Yes, I see how he she would think this, would draw this conclusion and react this way And I knew that the conclusions and reactions would send the characters down a path that otherwise wouldn t be taken This book is many things a romance, a historical, a character study, a subtle yet unvarnished look at Victorian s, beliefs, fears and hypocrisies Running through the adventures of Ellie and Fred is the thread of the Pre Raphaelite world The author amazed me with her knowledge of the historical period and the artists, those real and famed, and the not so much I admired her easy, casual ability to create with just a few well phrased lines a real, vibrant, accurate Victorian world If you like E.M Forster, Edith Wharton, or Jane Austen, I think you ll enjoy The Crimson Bed very much, but I hasten to add that the author of The Crimson Bed never shies away from or glosses over the earthy aspects the hypocritical underbelly of life in Victorian London As an amateur historian who has read and studied the era portrayed in The Crimson Bed, I can assure potential readers that as far as accuracy goes, this book will never disappoint nor does it bog down with endless description or preaching Lately I ve been disappointed by so many books and movies that give action and plot their entire attention and neglect to flesh out the characters so that we care what happens to them The Crimson Bed does not make this mistake It is, first and foremost, a character driven story filled with people the reader comes to know intimately this is the primary reason I so heartily recommend it An additional note I believe the best place from which to purchase this book if you want it is not.com but The Book Depository You can find this site online, and they have free shipping to anywhere in the world I ordered from and paid about 4 than I would have if I d ordered directly from The Book Depository. The Crimson Bed sweeps readers deep into Victorian England At the heart of this story is Fred Ashton Thorpe, a Pre Raphaelite painter, and the woman he falls in love with and marries, Eleanor Farnham Each has dark secrets they strive to keep hidden, but life has a way of forcing them out And this is what happens with each turn of the page in this lush novel Their love story is both highly romantic and devastatingly tragic.There are several underlying themes running through the novel the most important of which is the Crimson Bed Ellie inherits from her mother, which Fred does not like The author does a splendid job of revealing each character s dilemma, the angst, the betrayal, the pain and chaos it inflicts upon them The Crimson Bed is a novel that stirs emotions, a beautiful tale with compelling characters that are so real, they leap off the pages On a deeper level, the novel explores human vulnerability and frailty, love and loss, trust and betrayal Definitely well written and beautifully written I loved how she used a Pre Raphaelite painting for her book cover Very highly recommended. 354p Frederic Ashton Thorpe and his best friend, Henry Winstone, are artists immersed in the Pre Raphaelite movement, with its yearning for romantic escape from the materialism of Victorian society Seeing a half finished portrait of the beautiful Eleanor Farnham at Henry 19s studio, Fred is fascinated and returns in order to meet her He and Ellie fall in love and are married But every heart hides a secret and both Fred and Ellie have put certain events behind them 13 events that, if exposed, could threaten their blissful new life After her mother 19s death, Ellie inherits the Crimson Bed, a family heirloom passed down through the female line since Elizabethan times With the bed come ancestral secrets that will eventually affect Ellie as much as the unhappy memories from her own past Meanwhile, Fred is haunted by shameful memories of his own, that lead him into the darkness of the London slums and a very different world to that of his peaceful home As a brilliant and talented artist, Henry is beginning to experience success and fame, but his life is haunted by tragedy and loss Despite their own problems, Ellie and Fred watch in despair as he sinks slowly into drink, illness and decline Passions escalate as Fred becomes increasingly jealous of Ellie 19s closeness to her handsome godfather, Lord Percy Dillinger, and when shocking truths finally come to light, their lives will never be the same again Author, Loretta Proctor explains the inspiration behind, The Crimson Bed The Crimson Bed was inspired long ago by an unusual pencil drawing by D.G Rossetti called How They Met Themselves It shows an idealized couple himself and Lizzie Siddal meeting their doppelganger in a dark wood Rossetti drew this on their honeymoon, a strange foreboding of Lizzie s eventual suicide.D.G Rossetti s How They Met Themselves, 1864 The Rossetti Archive This picture has always held great fascination for Loretta She doesn t read it as a sinister doppelganger but rather in the Jungian sense of the meeting within of the male and female, spiritual and carnal sides of human nature, often reflected in real life by two couples who become friends then are contrasted with one another In The Crimson Bed, she seeks to show how her characters met themselves through the contrasting relationships of Fred and Ellie and Henry and Tippy.Carl Jung called sexual secrets and feelings people hide out of shame or a fear of tarnishing their image that they present to the world, the Shadow side of our natures The Crimson Bed deals with such secrets and feelings Yet this dark, non manifested part of us is often where creativity and depth of character is stored The Crimson Bed is written in a very easy writing style that keeps the reader interested in the story line and characters I was very impressed with Loretta Proctor s knowledge of the Victorian era and the artistic techniques used by the Pre Raphaelites She really creates a vibrant Victorian world especially if you enjoy reading Henry James or Edith Wharton The author never preaches to you or over explains details with mind numbing explanations She simply knows how to flesh out her characters. I was a bit dubious about this story at first I wasn t sure if I liked Ellie since she seemed to be a bit of a flirt and a bit shallow But I grew to like her The story kept picked up and I did love the ending when I discovered the fate of the bed That was quite poignant. This was an awful book I don t even know what else to say but what a waste of time. Frederic Ashton Thorpe And His Best Friend, Henry Winstone, Are Artists Immersed In The Pre Raphaelite Movement, With Its Yearning For Romantic Escape From The Materialism Of Victorian Society Seeing A Half Finished Portrait Of The Beautiful Eleanor Farnham At Henry S Studio, Fred Is Fascinated And Returns In Order To Meet Her He And Ellie Fall In Love And Are Married But Every Heart Hides A Secret And Both Fred And Ellie Have Put Certain Events Behind Them Events That, If Exposed, Could Threaten Their Blissful New Life After Her Mother S Death, Ellie Inherits The Crimson Bed, A Family Heirloom Passed Down Through The Female Line Since Elizabethan Times With The Bed Come Ancestral Secrets That Will Eventually Affect Ellie As Much As The Unhappy Memories From Her Own Past Meanwhile, Fred Is Haunted By Shameful Memories Of His Own, That Lead Him Into The Darkness Of The London Slums And A Very Different World To That Of His Peaceful Home As A Brilliant And Talented Artist, Henry Is Beginning To Experience Success And Fame, But His Life Is Haunted By Tragedy And Loss Despite Their Own Problems, Ellie And Fred Watch In Despair As He Sinks Slowly Into Drink, Illness And Decline Passions Escalate As Fred Becomes Increasingly Jealous Of Ellie S Closeness To Her Handsome Godfather, Lord Percy Dillinger, And When Shocking Truths Finally Come To Light, Their Lives Will Never Be The Same Again A memorable story It wasn t what I expected, but a good story nonetheless.
Writing and book reading are in the blood My great grandad used to travel around Turkey carrying a trunk full of his beloved books and during WW2, my Dad wrote 40 page letters in French to my Mother from the desert So he might well have got round to a novel or two if he had lived long enough I gave up writing for years but have now resurfaced in my later life and published two books, written si
- Kindle Edition
- 354 pages
- The Crimson Bed
- Loretta Proctor
- 24 August 2018 Loretta Proctor