A Passion Most Pure (The Daughters of Boston Book #1): A Novel

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Harriet Wolf's Seventh Book of Wonders, Julianna Baggott's most sweeping and mesmerizing novel yet, offers a profound meditation on motherhood and sisterhood, as well as on the central importance of stories. It is a novel that affords its characters that rare chance we all long for--the chance to reimagine the stories of our lives while there's still time.

Praise For… "Family secrets make for ripe hunting grounds for novelists.

Harriet Wolf's Seventh Book of Wonders: A Novel (Hardcover)

In this evocative book, those secrets hide mystery after mystery, like a set of Russian nesting dolls. Baggott switches narrative perspective among the Wolf women as they struggle with their individual issues, and you'll grow to care for them all. No spoilers, but we'll say this: Baggott knows how and when to reveal answers for the ultimate emotional punch.

The narrative Baggott has built might be described as a post-and-beam structure, a framework of sturdy supports locked into place with no nails, just fine, firm dovetail joints. Within it, the four women who make up Harriet's family alternately tell their stories, giving us a variety of perspectives on her 'gappy grasp of the world". As distinctively twisted as these characters' lives are, they still touch our own in ways that can be unexpectedly playful. Healing cascades down the generations. Harriet's 'truthful kind of lie' turns out to be a gift to her daughter [Eleanor].

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Eleanor and her daughters will all find a new ending to their story, and remind Baggott's readers of a gorgeous truth: 'The world is astonishing, mainly because of its persistence. In a daring bit of whimsy, Baggott has imagined what it would be like to have written a phenomenally popular series, a collection of novels that everyone has read Baggott conveys her fragmentary understanding of what's happening as she responds to the literal meaning of everything anyone says to her.

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This is easy to get wrong; the risk of mocking a young woman with special needs is high here, but Baggott captures Tilton's oddness and charm with real affection. Hearing her internal voice, we can tell that she enjoys a rich imagination, seeded long ago be her famous grandmother As a novel about learning to love and forgive, Harriet Wolf's Seventh Book of Wonders offers some sweet moments of reconciliation. It took Baggott eighteen years to write, and that's believable.

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  • This sprawling tale covers the entire twentieth century and multiple literary styles. It is not dense, however, and it can be enjoyed by readers who know nothing of deconstruction or semiotics Scott Fitzgerald One thing is certain: Nobody will be bored. It's a beautiful tale of how secrets in a family harm us, but they can also create us, protect us, and help us to grow.

    Anything, I tell you Wonders is deliberately, playfully strange. It has been made scrumptious with oddities of every conceivable sort Baggott takes the time to speak truly-about love, about books, about fame, about what it is to be alive. This novel, about a woman who is stuck telling and living a family story that someone else has written and whose ending has been maybe lost forever, reminds me of the best work by the great Steven Millhauser: brainy, self-aware, tender, full of loss, but also full of grace and wonder.

    This is Julianna Baggott's best book, which is one way of saying it's one of the best books you'll read this year, or any other. Harriet Wolf's Seventh Book of Wonders is a mesmerizing tale of star-crossed love and of the dark secrets in a fracturing family, but it is also a profound meditation on stories themselves: how they create and trap us, how they protect us, and how, even amid great tragedy, they can sometimes make us bloom. Dig deeper and it's about mothers and daughters and the conflicts and compromises that amount to love.

    This novel about a famous writer's lost manuscript, the complex legacy of family secrets, and--yes--a love story that unfolds across generations is inventive, playful, and deeply affecting.


    Julianna Baggott has indeed created a book of wonders. Harriet Wolf's Seventh Book of Wonders is a captivating multigenerational family saga, a love story, and a mystery-tinged with a bit of fantasy. Baggott's mesmerizing tale of the resilient ties of motherhood and the bonds between sisters will resonate with a wide variety of readers. This is an important book by one of our finest writers.

    You will be swept away. Profoundly different from anything she has done before, The Madam is an extraordinary novel which will open a whole new phase of what already looks like a brilliant career.

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    A Passion Most Pure Daughters of Boston, Book 1

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