"This novel by Barbara Novak blends scrupulous scholarship and compelling fiction writing as it follows the lives of two women, one the subject of the other's research. Tenure-track professor Angelica Bookbinder is researching a book on the woman Henry James called "the Margaret-ghost," the brilliant New England feminist Margaret Fuller (1810-1850), a friend and contemporary to Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Horace Greeley. From her desk in Houghton Library in 20th century Boston, Angelica follows Margaret as she travels to 19th century Europe, meeting George Sand and seeking advice from the revolutionary heroes, Mickiewicz and Mazzini. In Italy, Margaret meets the near-illiterate Marquese who becomes her fatal companion." "In the attempt to capture Fuller's "mystery," Angelica examines Margaret's bisexual love liaisons, discovering that Margaret's emotional life was dominated by a frustrated quest for love as she tried to balance her intellectual strengths with her emotional needs. As she pursues her subject, Angelica, aware that she is straying from the academic straight and narrow, finds her own romantic dilemmas beginning to echo Fuller's. Moving between nineteenth- and twentieth-century Boston, Angelica follows her research with an almost carnal obsession, simultaneously resisting the advances of a female colleague and welcoming a lover who is a fellow scholar studying Herman Melville. Although he appreciates Angelica's intellect - when it does not challenge his own - he seems to prefer the body of someone Angelica contemptuously calls "the Baywatch girl." Nineteenth-century high culture and contemporary pop references are juxtaposed with often hilarious results as Novak probes the nature of male-female relationships, questioning if certain patterns transcend time."--Jacket.