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Amy Watkin
We Were Once
Amy Watkin, Author

Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Market)

Before Constance Lloyd meets Oscar Wilde, she is a university student and an emerging fashion icon in 1870s London, professing the controversial beliefs that women’s clothing should be comfortable and undergarments should weigh less than seven pounds. With Oscar, she thinks she’s found the unconditional love that can heal the scars her mother left on her. Yet she struggles to create a life that matters beside a man who takes up all the space in the room and most of the headlines in London. When their second son is born, Oscar drifts away and Constance must decide which relationship to save: her marriage or the affair she really wants.
Plot/Idea: 10 out of 10
Originality: 9 out of 10
Prose: 10 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 9.75 out of 10


Plot: Watkin composes a narrative with historical integrity and imaginative reach. The author inserts a hearty helping of speculation into this nuanced reinterpretation of Wilde and Lloyd's turbulent marriage.

Prose: The author demonstrates a rare ability to achieve historical verisimilitude while infusing her story with relevance and novelty. Centuries-old conversations are reimagined with wit and reverence.

Originality: Writing with sensitivity, awareness, and skill, Watkin offers an uncommon feminist perspective on 19th century social restrictions and oppressive marriage laws.

Character Development: Watkin gives voice to an invisible woman who had the strength to momentarily tame an Irish giant of English literature. Characters are convincingly portrayed and enlivened through sharp dialogue and the author's own shrewd observations.

Blurb: Watkin’s novel is a heart-wrenching celebration of female courage in an otherwise discouraging time.

Date Submitted: July 19, 2018

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