Daughter of the Waves ~
The Victorian Life of Celia Laighton Thaxter

Celia Laighton Thaxter, a popular poet of the Victorian era, lived at a time before the technology we take for granted. She could not get water from a faucet, flick a switch to turn on a light, pop clothes into the washer and dryer, or access recordings of any kind. This look at her life includes her art and relationships, and also the everyday details of her world -- what she wore, what she ate, how she raised her children, and the many obstacles she faced as a woman.

Diane Taraz explores the many customs, traditions, and beliefs that shaped Victorian society. We visit the history of etiquette, illness, travel, perfume, cookbooks, and chamberpots, and we look at social class, the abolition movement, how women were expected to behave, and the way the grand hotels at the Isles of Shoals were run.

I note all the people in Celia's life, not just family and friends but servants and her neighbors, many of them recent immigrants. Their stories add a rich layer of history to the Isles of Shoals, where many echoes of the past still reverberate.

Celia's full story makes her success all the more compelling. She raised a special-needs child and struggled with conflict and illness. She was born near the ocean, grew up on a tiny island, and was happiest in the midst of the sea. She was truly a daughter of the waves.

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Candace cover