written by Evelyn Juers
New South | ISBN 9781920882884
Paperback – 128 pages
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Evelyn Juers’s study of reclusion focuses on Eliza Emily Donnithorne, long considered the model for Charles Dickens’s character Miss Havisham in Great Expectations. For most of her life she lived in isolation in a large house in the inner-Sydney suburb of Newtown. It was said that she had been jilted at the altar and become a recluse, wearing her wedding dress and keeping her wedding banquet set until the day she died. But who was she? The Recluse is the story of Juers’ quest to find the elusive Eliza Donnithorne, who was born in South Africa, and lived in India, England and Australia. Like House of Exile it features a cast of colourful historical characters, authors, convicts, sailors and servants, journalists and bloggers, and makes a powerful case for solitude as a dignified way of life.