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Anne Fleming (CA)



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"Curiosities is pure delight. Anne Fleming draws us in so that we feel we are living the characters’ lives, whether braving the North Atlantic on a sailing ship, or stealing away for a forbidden tryst in the English countryside. And she does it all with a light touch that has the reader dancing through peril and pleasure." —Ann-Marie MacDonald

"Curiosities arrives like a little sun from another period to warm the reader with the joy and pleasure of knowledge, even as it illuminates the terrors and confusion that arise from ignorance. Wonders and disasters tumble over fractured lives and loves, but Fleming’s conjuring of the past alive in our present is so deft and sure it might be witchcraft. I loved this book." —Marina Endicott

This sparkling, genre-bending novel opens with amateur historian Anne, who has a passion for research into the murkier corners of England in the 1600s. In an archive, Anne has stumbled across an obscure memoir, one that hints at an intricate tapestry of secret lives and loves.
    The full story eventually weaves together five manuscripts, each a different thread in the same strange tale: The Plague descends upon a village, and two children, Joan and Thomasina, are the only survivors. They bond with each other and with "Old Nut," a woman who lives in the forest nearby. But when relatives return, Old Nut is accused of witchcraft and condemned to death. Joan is hired as a maid to well-educated Lady Margaret Long—and, being lively and curious, soon becomes a beloved companion. Thomasina is sent on a perilous voyage to Virginia, where she adopts boys' clothing and navigates life as a male. 
    Years later, Tom and Joan find each other and fall in love—but are discovered, naked, by a clergyman. Horrified, he believes there can only be one explanation for Tom's "unmanned" state: Joan is a witch and, like Old Nut years ago, must be tried for sorcery. It falls upon Anne, reading between faded pages and centuries, to uncover the fate of the lovers—and add her own contemporary line of "truth" to this tale from a time when there were no labels for who Tom and Joan might be.

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ANNE FLEMING is the author of Pool-Hopping and Other Stories, shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize; and the novel Anomaly, published to widespread acclaim. Her middle-grade novel, The Goat, was a Junior Library Guild and White Ravens selection, shortlisted for Italy's Premio Strega, optioned for film, and named one of the Top Ten Children's Books of the Year by the New York Public Library and The Wall Street Journal. Anne Fleming lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

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