A Woman of Opinion

A Woman of Opinion


Brought to you by Penguin.

'I shall be a thousand different Marys and, in such manner, shall find the one I wish to be...'

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu longs for adventure, freedom and love, believing that only by truly living can she ever escape the stalking crow of Death...

An aristocratic woman in 18th century England is expected to act in certain ways. But Mary has never let society's expectations stifle her: she writes celebrated poetry and articles advocating for equality, as well as endless, often scandalous, letters to her many powerful friends.

However, Mary wants more from the world. Using her charm and connections, she engineers a job offer for her husband as ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. Travelling to Constantinople, Mary finally discovers the autonomous life she dreams of. And when she observes Turkish women 'engrafting' children against smallpox, she resolves to bring the miracle cure back to England.

Despite this, Mary's reputation becomes increasingly tainted. Her inability to abide by the rules, her outspoken opinions on women's rights, and her search for love and desire at all costs gains her powerful enemies. While Mary tries to ensure her name will live on by arranging the publication of her diaries after her death, her own daughter works against her, afraid of what they might contain...

An illuminating and beautiful novel which gives a voice to the tragically unremembered yet extraordinary life of pioneering poet and feminist, Mary Wortley Montagu.

©2024 Sean Lusk (P)2024 Penguin Audio


  • Lusk’s retelling of Mary’s story is by turns witty, insightful and moving
    Sunday Times

About the author

Sean Lusk

Sean Lusk’s debut, The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley, was a BBC2 Between the Covers pick, a Sunday Times Historical Fiction Book of the Month, and longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize and the Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award. He is also an award-winning short story writer, winner of the Manchester Fiction Prize and the Fish Short Story Prize. He has lived in Greece, Pakistan and Egypt and now lives in the Scottish Highlands.

You can find him at www.seanlusk.com or on Twitter @seanlusk1
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more