In turn-of-the-century London, an exemplary Victorian wife begins a noble-minded project: writing letters to a lonely local prisoner. What happens next in this brilliantly crafted novel of literary suspense will change Emma Smith’s life forever—and ignite a dark, erotic drama of suspicion, loss, and awakening.
In the year 1898, Emma makes a New Year’s resolution: to become a better person. So, under the tutelage of her novelist husband, she begins an innocent correspondence with Chance Wood, a man serving his sentence for the murder of his wife. But from the beginning, in words that shock and intrigue her, Chance dares Emma to unveil her unspoken thoughts and desires. And when Chance receives a pardon, Emma is set dangerously free. She will use her freedom—and Chance’s—to pursue the fantasies that have been swirling dizzily around her. Slowly, recklessly, Emma exchanges all that was familiar and safe for her new, dangerous double life. As the risks mount and a friend turns blackmailer, Emma cannot stop her fall. For once she has given in to her truest, basest desires, she cannot avoid the ones that come next.…
Lauren Baratz-Logsted was an independent bookseller for eleven years. She is the author of three novels, including her first, The Thin Pink Line, which launched Red Dress Ink’s hardcover line in 2003. She lives in Danbury, Connecticut, with her husband… More about Lauren Baratz-Logsted
“An erotic novel that unfolds in a claustrophobic emotional landscape bound by Victorian convention…. [Builds] layer upon layer of tension in a plot reminiscent of Ruth Rendell’s novels of psychological suspense.”—Boston Globe
"Entertaining… keeps the readers guessing up to the end."—Publishers Weekly
"Lauren Baratz-Logsted creates captivating characters and spins a cunning plot in Vertigo. I couldn’t stop turning the pages of this fascinating novel."—Margot Livesey, author of Banishing Verona
"Lauren Baratz-Logsted has tapped into the Victorian fascination with the social monster, and in Vertigo she concocts an ingenious chamber opera of a novel. But whether the monster is to be found behind bars or deep within the protagonist herself is ultimately a question for the reader to decide."–Dave King, author of The Ha-Ha