Book 8 for 2016 is “Effie: The Passionate Lives of Effie Gray, John Ruskin and John Everett Millais.” I have always been fascinated by the story of those three people, and Suzanne Fagence Cooper has brought them to life in this outstanding biography.
- John Ruskin was a famous writer and art critic of the 1800’s. He also had a, perhaps unhealthy, liking for young girls. He fell in love with Effie Gray when she was a young teenager but failed to consummate their marriage when he married her, she then being twenty years old. They were married for six years. His excuse for refusing to consummate the marriage was that her body was “unnatural”, but her second husband apparently did not notice this.
- Effie Gray was proud to be married to this great man but did not realize that the marriage would be without sex and controlled by her in-laws. She tolerated it for six years before getting an annulment.
- John Everett Millais was a young painter associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. He and Effie fell in love while she was married to Ruskin. They married after her annulment.
- This book is very well written and is one I will reread some day.