Fred and Edie

Jill Dawson

Set in Ilford in the early nineteen twenties, this dramatic story of passion, murder and a spectacular public trial takes place at a time of momentous change for women.

It is based on the true story of Edith Thompson, a book-keeper in the City who had married during the war but soon found her suburban life – and husband – stifling, dreaming instead of the kind of romantic and glamorous world she found in novels and in the new cinemas springing up around her.

Attractive, confident and financially independent, Edie was excited by the new freedoms open to women and enjoyed flouting convention. When she met Freddy Bywaters, seven years her junior, dark, sexy and impetuous, an affair seemed inevitable. Never in her wildest dreams could Edie have foreseen the devastation to four young lives that was to follow.

Drawing on newspaper reports of the period as well as letters from Edie to Freddy, Jill Dawson creates an intimate, tantalising voice for Edie as the story unfolds of how she came to be on trial for her life at the Old Bailey during the snowy December of 1922. Was Edie simply ahead of her time or did she collude in her own fate? Teasing out answers to this compelling mystery, this is a novel of entrancing imagination, sensitivity and grace.

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