Monday, November 18, 2013

Review: Havisham by Ronald Frame

Title: Havisham
Author: Ronald Frame
Format: ARC
Publisher: Picador
Publish Date: November 5, 2013
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a fiction fan.
  • You're a Charles Dickens fan.
What's the Story?:

From "Before she became the immortal and haunting Miss Havisham of Great Expectations, she was Catherine, a young woman with all of her dreams ahead of her. Spry, imperious, she is the daughter of a wealthy brewer. But she is never far from the smell of hops and the arresting letters on the brewhouse wall—HAVISHAM—a reminder of all she owes to the family name and the family business.

Sent by her father to stay with the Chadwycks, Catherine discovers elegant pastimes to remove the taint of her family's new money. But for all her growing sophistication, Catherine is anything but worldly, and when a charismatic stranger pays her attention, everything—her heart, her future, the very Havisham name—is vulnerable.

In Havisham, Ronald Frame unfurls the psychological trauma that made young Catherine into Miss Havisham and cursed her to a life alone, roaming the halls of the mansion in the tatters of the dress she wore for the wedding she was never to have."

My Two Cents:

As you may have guessed by the very title of this book, this book is the story of arguably one of Charles Dickens' most memorable characters. Who didn't wonder about the story behind old Miss Havisham and her tattered wedding clothes. Even if you haven't read "Great Expectations" you still may be familiar with the character of Miss Havisham in her massive decaying house surrounded by things that showcase what was meant to be or at least what Miss Havisham thought was meant to be. This book seeks to explain that character and why she appears the way she appears in "Great Expectations." Mr. Frame does a great job of bringing this character to life.

The story starts out a little slowly when Miss Havisham is young. There was a lot of detail in the first section that sort of bogged down the narrative a little bit but the story eventually picks up as Miss Havisham gets a little bit older. She isn't a wholly sympathetic character but we get enough detail about her life that the reader is at least able to begin to see where she is coming from. We get insight into what Miss Havisham was like as a young woman. She is definitely an interesting character and I loved reading about her.

One factor of this book that I really liked is that the book is told from the perspective of Miss Havisham herself. By having her tell her own story, you really get to know her. You know exactly what she is thinking and why she does what she does throughout the story. I really liked seeing things from her angle.

Overall, I thought Frame did a great job with his treatment of such a familiar character. 



  1. This sounds a very interesting book. Thanks for the review.

  2. I hadn't heard of this one, but I have to admit, Miss Haversham has always intrigued me; definitely a memorable character. I'm adding this one to my TBR! Thanks!


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