William and Lucy

Written by Michael Brown
Review by Cynthia McArthur

This novel imagines the love affair between William Wordsworth and his muse Lucy Sims as the inspiration for his poem “She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways.” William and his sister are next to destitute when the story opens; William’s poetry earns them a sporadic and meager income, and William learns he is under investigation for being a French spy.  He’s depressed and wallowing deeply in misery when he happens upon a beautiful meadow.  He stops to admire the scenery when he is suddenly accosted by two unruly children and their apologetic governess, Lucy.  Between the surly children, the embarrassment of his torn pants, and the haunting blue of the governess’s eyes, William is disconcerted and leaves in a huff.  Lucy, in her turn, cannot get the stranger’s smile out of her mind, and thinks of it often, and against her will, even as her employer harasses her and tries to seduce her, and she is accused of theft. The story is well written, moving at a nice speed and with all the proper elements in place: strong characters, drama, realistic dialogue, and of course, romance. The cover and printing are both well done. An enjoyable read.