The Girl in the Green Glass Mirror
Catherine Sargeant is the co-owner of an auction firm and an expert in 19th century art. She is initially devastated when her husband leaves her without warning, but she soon meets an older architect who has recently returned to England from Spain. She and John Brigham feel an immediate connection with one another, enhanced by a shared interest in the life and works of Richard Dadd, an insane but extraordinarily gifted early Victorian painter who spent much of his life in Bedlam and Broadmoor.
The novel alternates between the present-day storyline involving Catherine and Richard and briefer sections that focus on Dadd and provide background for the present-day thread. The two periods intertwine through his artwork, and there are intriguing connections as the reader discovers that people from Dadd’s life are also named Catherine and John. Both storylines catch the reader up and refuse to let go. The characters spring to life from the first, even though their backgrounds and motivations are only gradually revealed throughout the course of the novel. I was so impressed by this author that I plan to seek out her two earlier books that are available in the U.S., A Road Through the Mountains and the historical novel The Ice Child.