SEVEN books have been shortlisted for this year’s Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction:

Today we look at ‘The Chosen’ Elizabeth Lowry (Riverrun) and see what the judges thought.

“Elizabeth’s Lowry’s beautiful, insightful book deals with a real-life historical mystery: why did Thomas Hardy, who had openly grown tired of his wife, fall into a deep well of despair at her sudden death?

READ MORE: Find out what the judges think of each book

His grief drew from him the poems of 1912-13, verses of extraordinary beauty and power addressed to his lost love. Combining meticulous research with a poet’s imagination, Lowry gives voice to both Hardy and to his downtrodden wife Emma.  

“The result is an extraordinary work, full of tenderness and unexpected humour. It’s a portrait of a marriage gone wrong and an investigation into the grammar of grief. Along the way, we consider the parasitic relationship art can have with life, and the transcendent power of love.”