The Model Wife, by Suzanne Fagence Cooper is the story of Effie Millais (nee Gray), possessor of the most speculated-about pubic hair in all of history. She was the ill-fated bride of John Ruskin, a man who managed to be brilliant and an idiot at the same time. Infamously – and to Effie’s great frustration – they never had sex, not once, in six years of marriage. Her relationship with Millais was much more passionate, and produced the children she longed for. Cooper’s book reads like a potboiler, but retains its scholarly credentials, thanks to her access to primary source material. It’s an astonishing story populated by out-sized personalities. I couldn’t put it down.
Lee Randall, senior features writer, The Scotsman