Vertigo by Lauren Baratz-Logstead

A seemingly harmless New Year’s Resolution “to be a better person” takes Emma Smith down a path she could have never anticipated. It’s the turn of the century, 1898, and with her husband’s encouragement; she begins a correspondence with a prisoner to satisfy her resolution. This communication with the stranger stirs up feelings in her she never knew she had and creates desire she never knew possible. Then her prisoner receives a pardon. Emma begins living a dangerous double life, dark and erotic, full of tantalizing suspense and ultimately, murder.
I’ve always enjoyed historical fiction, but VERTIGO takes it to new and surprising heights spreading itself across several genres beautifully. Not just a work of historical fiction, VERTIGO is also a psychological thriller, a drama, erotica and a lovely piece of literature. As I read, the words elegant and poetic came to mind throughout.
What struck me was how timeless the story was. Although set in the turn of the Victorian age, Emma had so many of the same feelings modern women have today. The pressures of being a wife and mother, friend and daughter, satisfying expectations while keeping her own identity caused an inner turmoil that was easy to relate to and easily exploitable.
There was a deep intimacy as we read letters with Emma to her prisoner, Chance, and hers from him. The eventual sexual relationship between them was stirring and almost ingenuous in its eroticism. Their affair was far from innocent, but Emma’s modesty and unexplored feelings give it that sense of self discovery to Chance’s virility.
The suspense was classic and reminiscent of Hitchcock. Pondering and contemplating was part of the thrill as I read on, hoping for a satisfying conclusion. Nothing is as it would seem. The twists and turns were cultivated and refined but with a dark and psychological subtext that was just delicious.
I’m happy to highly recommend VERTIGO.

One Response to “Vertigo by Lauren Baratz-Logstead”

  1. YankeeChick Says:

    This one came, too! Quit reviewing such great books!!! I’m WAY behind on my reading!!

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