Helen Humphreys



  • Title: Afterimage
  • Author: Helen Humphreys
  • ISBN: 9780312420642
  • Page: 397
  • Format: Paperback

Inspired by the life of Julia Margaret Cameron, Afterimage is the bold and provocative story of Annie Phelan, a maid in the home of Isabel and Eldon Dashell Isabel is experimenting with the new medium of photography, and is inspired by Annie, who becomes her muse The two form a close relationship, but when Eldon devises his own plans for the young maid, Annie nearly loseInspired by the life of Julia Margaret Cameron, Afterimage is the bold and provocative story of Annie Phelan, a maid in the home of Isabel and Eldon Dashell Isabel is experimenting with the new medium of photography, and is inspired by Annie, who becomes her muse The two form a close relationship, but when Eldon devises his own plans for the young maid, Annie nearly loses herself, until disaster reveals her power over the Dashells work and hearts.

Recent Comments "Afterimage"

I would be more comfortable giving this 4.5 stars, but it's too good to be just a 4 so I will settle for 5.This is the third Humphreys novel I have read, and my favourite so far. It's an absolutely beautiful Victorian-era story of a young Irish maid named Annie and her relationship with both the lady of the house - a wilful and somewhat unladylike photographer struggling to be recognized - and the gentleman - a map maker with a yearning to explore the world and map the entire thing. Neither take [...]

I found this book to be rather strange. While it had an intriguing dreamy narration, the story itself failed to impress me. There was no overarching plotline or climax; I felt as if I was reading a collection of short stories with the same characters in each one. For example, in one section of the book Isabelle would take pictures of Annie, and in the next, Isabelle’s husband would talk to Annie about how he wanted to be an explorer in his youth. Both events happen in the same setting in a sho [...]

This is a story about an intelligent, quietly spirited young Annie Phelan, survivor of the potato famine who comes to an unusual household as a maid. She quickly becomes a model for her mistress, Isabelle, a photographer struggling against the trivialization of women as artists and against the artistic dogma of the day (photography is not real art). That Isabelle has lost three children at childbirth has strained her marriage to Eldon. Eldon finds Annie a most agreeable companion and he gives he [...]

Inspired not so much by real events (if one was to look up Cameron's bio), but at the very least by real photographs, this book is a work of art in itself. There is such beauty to the writing, the cadence of narrative, the astute characterizations. In a wake of Downton Abbey's popularity, this can be described as an upstairs downstairs story, only the household is small and the lines quickly blur for the new servant Annie Phelan. She becomes alternatively a muse, a model, a friend, a confidante, [...]

3.5 stars.a Victorian bisexual love triangleere were moments of profound beauty, passion and insightever the book was soooo jarring in other sections that appeared rushed and overwhelmingly amateurishis book had real potential to be a minor masterpiece with a few more edits and expansion of the story and fleshing out of the psychology of the three main protagonists some point I would like to read a more recent novel by this author as some of this book was absolutely brilliant.

If you are simply reading this novel based on the progtagonist character of Annie Phelan (both Mary's Hillier and Ryan) then it is a highly enjoyable story. However, for myself, I really struggled to enjoy the storyline based upon the characters of Mr. and Mrs. Dashell. Although, loosely based upon Mr. and Mrs. Charles Hay Cameron, the author purposefully wrote such stark differences in their life story, changing their life events so drastically that I honestly found the characters non-sympathet [...]

Im curious as to what Ive missed from reading this book. All the reviews seem to paint a different portrait than what I was presented with upon delving in to the world of the hoousehold of the Dashells. I found it a bit boring, actually. I will agree with the other reviews when they say that it was an easy read, perfectly easy to read in one sitting. The only problem was the perpetual boredom with which I was taken by throughout the entire book. Some spots were interesting. Most were not. Readin [...]

Can't rate it as gave up halfway through

This is terrible. I wish I hadn't wasted my money buying it. I was attracted by the setting and the time periodbut any potential this had failed to be realised. The story is utterly pointless and dull. It only really gets going at the end. The only relationship that came across in the book is the friendship between Annie and Eldon but apart from that all the characters are really dreary and 2D. Minor characters have absolutely nothing about them, they just exist. The most interesting events of t [...]

Eine feine Beobachtung, ganz nah an den Figuren, und atmosphärisch, und ich musste daran denken, dass ich die Filme "Das Piano" und "Bright Star" wieder einmal sehen möchte.

It's not frequently that I think "this book should have been longer", but this is the case with Afterimage. Too much plot for the pages; too much ground to cover that was whipped through and effect was lost as a result. There were a lot of moments that this novel clearly wanted to be emotional and moving. There was the budding of some beautiful symbolism, but 250 pages was not enough to develop it into something that gave it its full impact. The surface was skimmed, and what was underneath looke [...]

I really enjoy Helen Humphreys books and this one didn't disappoint me.

I really liked this book. My first Humphreys, and I think her writing isbeautiful. Afterimage is set in 18th century England, and is the story ofAnnie Phelan, the new maid at the country estate of Isabelle and Eldon.Tremendously interesting character studies.Annie's entire family died in"the hunger" in Ireland. Isabelle is a budding photographer. Eldon is anenthusiastic geographer, mapmaker, and history enthusiast. These plus othercharacters in the household all interact in Annie's life, making [...]

An accurate, artistic, lyrical story of Victorian caste system and the hyprocrisy therein. Set in 1865, Annie Phelan, is a young, poor Irish immigrant hired as a maid by an upper class English couple. As the loveless marriage twirls downward, Anne becomes a muse to both husband and wife. The wife, Isabelle, perceives herself as an artist/photographer and uses Anne as her subject matter. The husband, Eldon, uses Anne as his confessor/confidant.After reading two of Helen Humphrey's books, which we [...]

I love Humphreys' poetic writing. In this novel one character an orphan of the Irish famine serves as a maid and model, another is an English lady who attempts to create art using the tools of early day photography while her husband creates maps and longs for the real world of exploration. All kinds of images of being seen, being invisible, being discovered and the idea of being something beyond the class or category the world ascribesyou to.


I enjoyed this, nothing outstanding to report, just a good book.

One more five star novel read in the last two years. I would rate it as more enjoyable than "Middlesex", as strong as some classics, as powerful as a John Irving novel and as deep as the best of Sebastian Faulkes. The imagery and near poetic resonance was much like Michael Ondaatje in the "English Patient" and I was as riveted as when I read "The Dovekeeper"; however this was historical fiction with an extraordinarily unique twist of interpolating the research of history with the contemporary hu [...]

4.5. The only reason is not a 5 is that I found the wide-eyed, better-than-her-mistress-and-master, super-literate Victorian servant trope a bit too much, but I am nitpicking here, this book is excellent, heartfelt and full of little wonders, I absolutely loved it.

First impression: a beautifully written waste of time. Yet the intricate layers of symbolism everything is steeped in make it a thought provoking read.

I can always count on Helen Humphreys to write a beautiful novel that makes my heart feel all warm and, like, trembly, and whathaveyou. I love that Humphreys is a Canadian who is so clearly in love with England and, in particular, London because I CAN RELATE. I'd recommend Humphreys to fans of Sarah Waters.

I love how her stories capture herstory in such a clever way.

Review initially published on my blog, Writing by Numbers,here.This quiet novel features three Victorian-era introverts. Isabel Dashell, modeled after British photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, is an irascible workaholic in pursuit of beauty. Eldon, Isabel’s husband, is a bookish mapmaker whose poor health has kept him from a life of Arctic exploration. Annie Phelan, whose character is based on Cameron’s frequent model Mary Hillier, completes the cast.Annie works as the Dashells’ maid, a [...]

Es gibt Bücher, die würde ich nicht kaufen. Schuld daran sind meistens die Kurzbeschreibungen am Buchrücken. Ich hasse Kurzbeschreibungen und vermeide es sie zu lesen. Entweder geben sie zuviel oder zuwenig vom Buch Preis (oder verfälschen den eigentlichen Inhalt). In diesem Fall wäre es ähnlich gewesen, da ich aber nicht an Büchern vorbeigehen kann die gratis sind kam ich vor einigen Jahren über eine offene Bibliothek zu diesem Buch (und jetzt erst dazu es zu lesen).Humphreys Prosa hat [...]

02/15/2012Upon re-reading, I think Afterimage is a trifle schematic for my tastes - but I wonder if I'd think that if I read it a third time (every reading is different!). Also, it's not a very long novel, and it benefits from a sustained mood achieved by reading over a Saturday afternoon or a Sunday morning, which is not how I read it this time. It has a quality I really appreciate in art (especially literature), which is that everything it achieves is on-purpose: Humphreys knows what she is do [...]

This was an interesting book. It's not terribly much in the way of plot, rather, it's in introspective look into the lives of people who have been beset by tragedy and are trying to deal with the lot they have been given by life by escaping into fantasy worlds: Isabelle loses herself in her photography, Eldon in his maps and books, and Annie in believing she has become their equal.This book never spends much time being overly dramatic and pretentious, which I enjoyed. There's certainly a lot tha [...]

Annie, an orphan of the Irish Famine finds herself as a maid in an English household. She becomes the muse for the mistress who is an early pioneer of photography and the sounding board for the master who is obsessed by early Arctic exploration. Isabelle photographs her coldly at first not really relating to her as a person. As Annie asserts her personality and preferences their relationship develops so that the work becomes more collaborative. Annie’s desire for reading leads her to the role [...]

This novel was Inspired by the Victorian photography of Julia Margaret Cameron, it takes place in 1865 at the country home of Isabelle and Eldon Dashell who live in the south of England. Annie Phelen is an Irish maid who comes to work for them, and becomes an important person to both of the Dashells , and we see all three of them searching to find themselves.Having a love of photography, I really enjoyed the descriptions of the "making of a photograph" and the way she went about setting up her s [...]

An interesting story, and beautifully written:“She has prayed all her life and it has always seemed like the right thing to do, has always seemed as if it was an action in itself. But now, here, she thinks that praying is perhaps merely a form of waiting. Praying is waiting for something better to happen. Salvation means rescue.”“It is a dangerous thing, making a map. If there is a pure curiosity, an authentic urge for discovery and knowledge, why is it that every map seems a precursor to [...]

Only on p. 5, and already I'm relaxig into it. I feel I'm in the hands of a writer who knows exactly what they're doing. The language is precise and sparse with blooms of beauty every now and then; the characters are very clearly drawn and sharp and alive. Beautiful. Just beautiful.Finished now - I spun it out as long as I could because it was such a delight. I loved the writing, loved the characters, loved where it took and left them in the end. Fabulous book, all round.

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    Published :2018-08-21T04:07:35+00:00