Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group


The Passionate Lives of Effie Gray, John Ruskin and John Everett Millais

Suzanne Fagence Cooper

St. Martin's Griffin



Trade Paperback

Effie Gray, a beautiful and intelligent young socialite, rattled the foundations of England's Victorian age. Married at nineteen to John Ruskin, the leading art critic of the time, she found herself trapped in a loveless, unconsummated union after Ruskin rejected her on their wedding night. On a trip to Scotland she met John Everett Millais, Ruskin's protégé, and fell passionately in love with him. In a daring act, Effie left Ruskin, had their marriage annulled and entered into a long, happy marriage with Millais. Suzanne Fagence Cooper has gained exclusive access to Effie's previously unseen letters and diaries to tell the complete story of this scandalous love triangle. In Cooper's hands, this passionate love story also becomes an important new look at the work of both Ruskin and Millais with Effie emerging as a key figure in their artistic development. Effie is a heartbreakingly beautiful book about three lives passionately entwined with some of the greatest paintings of the pre-Raphaelite period.



Chapter One
Spring: 1854
THE MORNING of Tuesday, 25 April 1854 was achingly cold. Effie said goodbye to her husband, John Ruskin, for the last time on the platform at King's Cross Station. Then he helped...


Praise for Effie

“Suzanne Fagence Cooper's meticulously researched and yet touchingly personal memoir of Effie Gray is a joy to read. We know so much about Ruskin and Millais – so little about the most influential woman in their lives. Miserably married to the first and triumphantly to the second, Effie's story is emblematic of the struggle of Victorian women who had to survive without the outlets, opportunities or rights that were afforded to men. Her trail-blazing life makes a wonderful, rich book.” —Emma Thompson

“A refreshing re-examination of interesting questions about art, nature and life beyond the bounds of Victoria's England.” —Kirkus

“...a lively and highly readable triple biography of these figures, the first one to focus on the woman at the center of this triangle.” —The Washington Independent Review of Books

“Effie Gray's story is extraordinary and Cooper feasts upon it with appetite…I cannot recommend Suzanne Fagence Cooper's biography of Effie Gray more highly to anyone with a heart, a liking for a good read and an interest in things Victorian.” —Henrietta Garnett, The Literary Review

“At last Effie Millais has been given her voice and it is marvelous one. Effie emerges as a courageous, intelligent, resourceful, woman who refused to go quietly. In unsettling Victorian society, she left the door ajar for generations of women. Suzanne Fagence Cooper elegantly brings to life the glittering world of Victorian art and the socially complicated one of a woman who wed the two cultural giants of the age and not only survived, but thrived! Effie's story is a haunting one. I couldn't put it down.” —Linda Lear, author of Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature and Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature

In the Press

Read the Kirkus Review of EFFIE The Passionate Lives of Effie Gray, John Ruskin and John Everett Millais. A fresh look at Victorian society as seen through the eyes of an early defender of women's rights, Effie Gray. - Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Suzanne Fagence Cooper

SUZANNE FAGENCE COOPER is a research fellow and curator at the Victoria & Albert Museum. She has also worked as a consultant for the BBC. Suzanne lives in London and York.

Suzanne Fagence Cooper

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Griffin

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