In Conversation with Andrea Beverley
November 12, 2022 | 1:30 p.m. | Moncton Public Library
In the late nineteenth century, Charlotte Bell is growing up at Fayne, a vast and lonely estate straddling the border between England and Scotland, where she has been kept from the world by her adoring father, Lord Henry Bell, owing to a mysterious condition. Charlotte, strong and insatiably curious, revels in the moorlands, and has learned the treacherous and healing ways of the bog from the old hired man, Byrn, whose own origins are shrouded in mystery. Her idyllic existence is shadowed by the magnificent portrait on the landing in Fayne House which depicts her mother, a beautiful Irish-American heiress, holding Charlotte’s brother, Charles Bell. Charlotte has grown up with the knowledge that her mother died in giving birth to her, and that her older brother, Charles, the long-awaited heir, died soon afterwards at the age of two. When Charlotte’s appetite for learning threatens to exceed the bounds of the estate, her father breaks with tradition and hires a tutor to teach his daughter “as you would my son, had I one.” But when Charlotte and her tutor’s explorations of the bog turn up an unexpected artefact, her father announces he has arranged for her to be cured of her condition, and her world is upended. Charlotte’s passion for knowledge and adventure will take her to the bottom of family secrets and to the heart of her own identity.
About the author
Ann-Marie MacDonald is an award-winning novelist, playwright, actor, and broadcast host. Her writing for the stage includes the plays Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning, Juliet), (Vintage Canada, 1998), Belle Moral: A Natural History (Vintage Canada, 2008), and Hamlet-911, along with the libretto for the chamber opera Nigredo Hotel, and book and lyrics for the musical Anything That Moves. With Vintage Canada, she is the author of the bestselling novels Fall On Your Knees (1997), The Way the Crow Flies (2004), and Adult Onset (2015). Ann-Marie MacDonald is a graduate of the Acting Program of The National Theatre School of Canada. In 2019 she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in recognition of her contribution to the arts and her LGBTQ2SI+ activism. She is married to theatre director, Alisa Palmer, with whom she has two children.
About the host
Andrea Beverley teaches in the English department and in the Canadian Studies program of Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. She is currently the Head of the Canadian Studies academic program and Director of the Centre for Canadian Studies. She also holds the Reverend William Purvis Chair in English Literature. Andrea Beverley publishes on Canadian women's literature, often drawing on archival research and feminist theory.