ISBN 0-312-31440-X $25.95, 384p.
A rich, fictional account of the marriage of Catherine and William Blake
Set in the tumultuous 18th Century, this novel weaves fact and fiction to tell the story of Kate Blake, dubbed as "the perfect wife" for the notoriously strange William Blake. Kate searches for her identity in the shadow of Blake's genius. Young and innocent, Catherine struggles to understand the bohemian world and Blake's unconventional principles, visions, and practice of free love.
Working as Blake's assistant, printing and coloring his works, she witnesses the psychic powers that distract him from earning a living. She endures the loss of their long-awaited child, Blake's passion for Mary Wollstonecraft and others, the French Revolution, and Blake's sedition trial.
In the tradition of Girl With A Pearl Earring and Possession, this is historical fiction at its best-entertaining and informative. Other Sorrows, Other Joys is based on the marriage of Catherine Sophia Boucher's life with poet, artist, visionary William Blake . . . "a rich novel of la vie boheme during the 18th century—visions, drugs, free love, the French Revolution, and a marriage that survived it all. [READ FULL QUOTE] —Publishers Weekly (Online, 2002)
Other Sorrows, Other Joys is an absolutely charming novel…The unsuspecting reader is drawn into a swirl of emotion, ideas, and the great pleasure of a very good read." [READ FULL QUOTE] —Frances Sherwood, Author of The Book of Splendor, Green, Vindication
Warner blends fact and fiction in this debut novel about eccentric artist and poet William Blake, narrated by Blake’s widow, Kate, an artist in her own right…[a] well-researched portrait of the Blakes is set in a detailed dream of late 18th-century England. [READ FULL QUOTE] —Publishers Weekly (October 2003)
Although Blake’s story has the usual artist’s mixture of dueling egos and chronic poverty, in Catherine’s telling the sharp edges are smoothed out under the soft light of affection, achingly so for a widow who receives nightly visitations from her late husband’s affectionate ghost…A pleasant account of one of England’s stranger geniuses…Warner’s first fiction has a good grasp on the atmosphere and idioms of the day… [READ FULL QUOTE] —Kirkus Reviews (October 1, 2003)
Other Sorrows, Other Joys … “a joy to read.” [READ FULL QUOTE] --Alev Lytle Croutier, author of Seven Houses • Janet Warner has a gift for the telling of fictional detail. Even when she invents dialogue for William Blake, her inventions are persuasively in character. Other Sorrows, Other Joys will be read with pleasure and profit by anyone interested in William Blake, in the life of the spirit, and in the wife of a strange genius. [READ FULL QUOTE] —G.E. Bentley, Jr. author of The Stranger from Paradise: A Biography of William Blake (Yale University Press)
Janet is a remarkably gifted author and has woven fact and fiction so artfully and in a style so reminiscent of that time, I was immediately enchanted. [READ FULL QUOTE] —Inge Siemens, Bookseller, H. B. Fenn
Janet Warner’s Other Sorrows, Other Joys will please three kinds of readers. New Age enthusiasts will like the novel’s description of Blake’s ecstasies; poetry and art lovers will delight in the accounts of his creative process; and romance readers will swoon over the novel’s love stories set in England and France at the end of the 18th century…brilliant. [READ FULL QUOTE] —Mary Soderstrom, Canadian Publishers Weekly (December 2003)
Not only did she [Catherine] actually assist him with his complicated processes of engraving, but she also seems to have functioned as a muse for his [Blake’s] poetry.[READ FULL QUOTE] —San Francisco Chronicle (December 21, 2003)
Janet Warner[’s Other Sorrows, Other Joys]…subject of this interview, is a richly imagined historical fiction told through the heart and feelings of Kate, William Blake’s “perfect wife” and set in the tumultuous eighteenth century. Kate’s independent spirit and talent surface as she struggles for her own identity in the face of genius, and brings us into their world of bohemia, free love, and inspiration. It deserves a place on your group reading list…It’s quite racy stuff actually…these details and innuendo with a delicacy…totally appropriate to the style of the book…It’s a beautiful tapestry of woven facts and stories within the fiction…expertly and sensitively executed…a splendid book. It has so many opportunities for discussion, so many issues that remain germane to us today: love, ambition, fidelity, infidelity, the use of drugs or pharmacopeias for inspiration and conjecture on those missing pieces of historical fact that make examining important lives so interesting. We will certainly recommend it! [READ FULL QUOTE] —Excerpts from an Interview by Paula Shackleton, Co-Founder of Online Bookclub www.bookbuffet.com (November 29, 2003)
William Blake, the English religious poet, engraver and painter of the late 18th and 19th centuries was an accentric visionary. [READ FULL QUOTE] —Bernadette Murphy, Los Angeles Times (March 24, 2004)