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"Riveting in its incandescent sense of discovery, intimacy, and velocity, Shelden's bound-to-be- controversial anatomy of a clandestine love transforms our perception of Melville."--Donna Seaman, starred review in Booklist

"Melville in Love is a beautifully written, captivating story that may also be one of the most surprising literary revelations of our time."--Joelle Herr, BookPage Magazine

"A brilliantly poetic masterpiece."--Laura Schultz, New York Journal of Books

"A spellbinding, romantic tale"--Valerie Hemingway

"A mesmerizing portrait . . . . The hitherto hidden tale of these unconventional lovers is a deep and revelatory pleasure."--Elle Magazine

"A scandalous surprise . . . . Shelden carefully and convincingly presents his evidence regarding Morewood's influence and how she inspired Melville to a greatness recognized by few of his peers."--Library Journal

"A proto-feminist woman of letters, impresario and poet in her own right, Morewood strikes us in Shelden's account as a person of imagination and courage straining against the socially imposed constrictions of her time."--Washington Post

"Heart-wrenching and remarkably astute . . . . The book is wonderful to read."--Providence Journal

"Michael Shelden delivers the goods. . . . Now we can understand better the daring and originality, the stylistic and thematic boldness of Moby-Dick."--Sena Jeter Naslund, author of the bestselling novel Ahab's Wife 

In the summer of 1850 Herman Melville fell in love with a young married woman and was so determined to remain at her side that he went deeply in debt to buy a farm next to hers. Their love story has remained a secret for 150 years--until now. It is a story that will change everything you thought you knew about the author of America's greatest novel.

 

MORE PRAISE for Melville in Love

***“Biographies of Melville, until this one, have left me frustrated; their vision of Melville as writer and man seemed incomplete. However, in Melville in Love, Michael Shelden delivers the goods. A person--Sarah Morewood--barely mentioned, if at all, in previous biographies, is, in fact, the key to understanding not only Melville's inner life but also his major works. Now we can understand better the daring and originality, the stylistic and thematic boldness of Moby-Dick: its writing was fueled and sustained by Melville's passionate connection to a congenial sensibility.” --Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab's Wife

***"Melville in Love is a masterful, riveting piece of literary and biographical detective work. Astute, compelling, and beautifully written, it gives us fascinating new insight into one of America’s greatest writers and the alchemy of his enduring art."--Shelley Fisher Fishkin, Director of American Studies, and Joseph S. Atha Professor of Humanities, Stanford University, and author of Was Huck Black? Mark Twain and African-American Voices and Writing America: Literary Landmarks from Walden Pond to Wounded Knee

***"In this remarkable book Michael Shelden uncovers the clandestine romance between Sarah Morewood and Herman Melville and reveals, for the first time, its major influence on Moby-Dick, one of America's greatest novels. Engrossing, original, fast-paced, and beautifully written, this is a book that deserves a place on the shelves of anyone interested in Melville and the art of literature."--Bruce Cole, former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and author of The Informed Eye: Understanding Masterpieces of Western Art

***"As gripping as a novel, Melville in Love reveals the secret love affair behind Moby-Dick, and brings its author from obscurity into the light. Using newly discovered letters and private papers, Michael Shelden gives us Herman Melville mountain-climbing, horseback-riding, and sleeping outside under a full moon with his lover and muse, Sarah Morewood. It took the world decades to recognize Melville as a great writer. Now, thanks to Michael Shelden, we finally know Melville as a husband, father, son, friend, and lover. A brilliant and heart-breaking story."--Eve LaPlante, author of Marmee & Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother.

***"Secret love lives of famous writers hold a particular fascination for readers. Least suspect is Herman Melville, highly praised posthumously, but his greatest work reviled and despised in his lifetime, forcing him to forsake his passion for a dull desk job, and leaving us with the image of a charmless curmudgeon. More than a century on, this image may change. Michael Shelden--with his skills as meticulous researcher, literary sleuth, and inveterate storyteller--surprises with a spellbinding, romantic tale of Melville and the Muse who aroused his passion and inspired his genius."--Valerie Hemingway, author of Running with the Bulls: My Life with the Hemingways

***"Shelden offers compelling evidence. . . .  Melville in Love is a beautifully written, captivating story that may also be one of the most surprising literary revelations of our time."--BookPage Magazine

***"This is a mesmerizing portrait of the married Melville's years-long, romantically oceanic affair with his Massachusetts neighbor, Mrs. Sarah Morewood. . . . . The hitherto hidden tale of these unconventional lovers is a deep and revelatory pleasure."--Elle Magazine

***"Written with novelistic period detail and peopled with convincingly reanimated historical characters"--Publishers Weekly

***"A provocative portrait of the canonical writer and his world."--Kirkus Reviews