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In Pursuit of Love

It’s 1863. The daughter of the most famous writer in the world, Victor Hugo, who has ambitions as a writer and composer, suddenly leaves her family’s home on the Channel Islands bound for Nova Scotia. She is in pursuit of a young British soldier, with whom she is desperately in love, but who has rejected her. Eight years later, after stalking him to the Caribbean, where he’s stationed with the army, Adèle Hugo is brought back to Paris by a benevolent former slave woman who has taken pity on her. She is admitted to an asylum where she dies decades later, rich from the inheritance of the rights to her father’s books.

This story of hopeless love has inspired writers, composers, and a well-known film by François Truffaut. Yet much about Adèle Hugo’s tragic life has remained shrouded in mystery – not least the true character and identity of the soldier who ultimately contributed to her undoing.

Mark Bostridge was drawn to Adèle’s story in his twenties, thanks in part to the François Truffaut film, and has been following her story ever since. Now he sets out in pursuit of the truth about her, travelling halfway across the world, acting as sleuth and tracking down the descendants of the soldier she loved. In so doing he recognises the source of his fascination with the aspects of Adèle’s life that reflect and parallel his own. The result is a moving book about the pain of loving too much and of parents loving too little; about the ways in which we are haunted by the dead; and about our insatiable appetite for other’s people’s stories which possess us and invade our own lives.

In Pursuit of Love is part memoir and part travelogue, as well as an invigorating new approach to the writing of biography.

In Pursuit of Love

  • Mark Bostridge

    From Normandy to the Caribbean Islands, this innovative biographical pursuit follows Adèle Hugo on her reckless journey of unrequited love – and the writer who chased after her more than 150 years later.

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  • Book Details

    Imprint: Continuum
    Publication Date: 06-06-2024
    Format: Hardback | 234 x 153mm | 234 pages

  • About the Author

    Mark Bostridge’s books include Vera Brittain: A Life, shortlisted for the Whitbread Biography Award, the NCR Non-Fiction Prize, and the Fawcett Prize; the bestselling Letters from a Lost Generation; Florence Nightingale, The Woman and Her Legend, winner of the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography; and The Fateful Year, England 1914, shortlisted for the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize. He has written widely for national newspapers and journals, and appeared on television and radio.

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