Life Mask by Emma Donoghue

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 5 Critic Reviews



The bestselling author of Slammerkin vividly brings to life the Beau Monde of late eighteenth-century England, turning the private drama of three celebrated Londoners into a robust, full-bodied portrait of a world on the brink of revolution. In a time of looming war, of glittering spectacle and financial disasters, the wealthy liberals of the Whig Party work to topple a tyrannical prime minister and a lunatic king. Marriages and friendships stretch or break; political liaisons prove as dangerous as erotic ones; and everyone wears a mask. Will Eliza Farren, England's leading comedic actress, gain entry to that elite circle that calls itself the World? Can Lord Derby, the inventor of the horse race that bears his name, endure public mockery of his long, unconsummated courtship of the actress? Will Anne Damer, a sculptor and rumored Sapphist, be the cause of Eliza's fall from grace?

This is a remakable novel in the tradition of the very best historical fiction.

About Emma Donoghue

See more books from this Author
Born in Dublin in 1969, Emma Donoghue is an Irish emigrant twice over: she spent eight years in Cambridge doing a PhD in eighteenth-century literature before moving to London, Ontario, where she lives with her partner and their two children. She also migrates between genres, writing literary history, biography, stage and radio plays as well as fairy tales and short stories. She is best known for her novels, which range from the historical (Slammerkin, Life Mask, Landing, The Sealed Letter) to the contemporary (Stir-Fry, Hood, Landing). Her international bestseller Room was a New York Times Best Book of 2010 and was a finalist for the Man Booker, Commonwealth, and Orange Prizes. For more information, visit
Published September 5, 2005 by Mariner Books. 669 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Life Mask

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Donoghue's latest, another fabulously entertaining historical (Slammerkin, 2001, etc.), illuminates three intertwined 18th-century lives.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Life Mask

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Few sexual liaisons among the gentry went unnoticed in 18th-century beau monde England—the gossip papers of the era make our own tabloid culture look respectful—and though fleeting same

Jul 26 2004 | Read Full Review of Life Mask

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

Emma Donoghue has written a novel about Anne Damer, noted English sculptor and notorious cross-dresser.

Sep 26 2004 | Read Full Review of Life Mask

BC Books

See more reviews from this publication

"Tis now common to suspect Impossibilities whenever two Ladies live too much together - that horrible Vice ... call'd Sapphism."

Oct 02 2005 | Read Full Review of Life Mask

Entertainment Weekly

Historical fiction fans will get their bustle in a bunch over .

Aug 13 2004 | Read Full Review of Life Mask

Reader Rating for Life Mask

An aggregated and normalized score based on 50 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review