When I began Max Gate, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Damien Wilkins’ book takes its title from the house where Thomas Hardy lived on the outskirts of Dorchester and is set in the immediate period leading up to, and the aftermath of, the great writer’s death. Was I going to read a book so mournful and stuffed full of grief that I’d come out the other end in tears? As it happens, no. Wilkins’ approach to his story left me dwelling on what I read each day, taking it with me into my every-day life. There is much to dwell upon in this book.
The narrator of Max Gate is housemaid Nellie Titterington, a feisty young woman who views the goings on surrounding Hardy’s death with a critical eye. Continue reading