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Missionary’s Wife

Tim Jeal
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In The Missionary’s Wife (1996) – his return to historical fiction – Tim Jeal expertly evoked Africa in the 1890s: a continent in turmoil as a horde of prospecters, hunters and missionaries scramble after gold, ivory, and converts. Young Englishwoman Clara Musson, though, travels with a different purpose. Jilted in love, doubting her Christian faith, she hoped to find renewed meaning as the wife of charismatic missionary Robert Haslam. What she finds is an obsessive zeal that will provoke a civil war.

‘A powerful love story fleshed out with vivid historical detail, narrative tension and subtle post-colonial awareness… remarkably engaging and skilfully told.’ Guardian

‘Jeal brilliantly evokes the sights and sounds and smells of 1890s Africa.’ Sunday Times

‘Brilliantly plotted… a book of deep moral intelligence.’ Lynn Barber, Literary Review

‘Gripping… moving and convincing.’ Allan Massie, Scotsman


Tim Jeal is an acclaimed novelist and biographer, whose Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa’s Greatest Explorer was published by Faber in 2007 and was a BBC Radio Four ‘Book of the Week’. Stanley was named Sunday Times Biography of the Year, and, in the US, won the National Book Critics’ Circle Award in Biography for 2007. Tim’s memoir Swimming…

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