Skip to main content

Life Mask

About the Book

Life Mask

In Life Mask, the bestselling author of Slammerkin turns her eye to the aristocracy of late eighteenth-century England, a world where art, politics, sports, and theater combine to form webs of intrigue. At the center of Life Mask are the Honorable Mrs. Anne Damer, the only female sculptor of her time; the Earl of Derby, inventor of the horse race that bears his name and the richest (though homeliest) man in the House of Lords; and Miss Eliza Farren, born without pedigree but now the reigning Queen of Comedy at London's famed Drury Lane Theatre.

Against a backdrop of political turmoil, the trio copes with the harsh glare of publicity while trying to maintain behind-the-scenes alliances. Each character faces an elusive challenge: Eliza struggles to be accepted by the elite, while her mother pressures her to become Lord Derby's mistress. Lord Derby endures mockery over his long, unconsummated, adulterous courtship of Eliza. And Anne Damer tries to silence the whispers of Sapphism that test her friendships with both Lord Derby and Eliza. Inspired by true stories, this is the tale of wealthy liberal Whigs who work to topple a tyrannical prime minister and lunatic King George in an atmosphere where political liaisons prove as volatile as romantic ones.

Life Mask
by Emma Donoghue

  • Publication Date: September 1, 2004
  • Hardcover: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • ISBN-10: 0151009430
  • ISBN-13: 9780151009435