The Mystery of Love: A fictionalised story of the Wilde marriage

Book review: Andrew Meehan shows with empathy how the brightness of their love diminished

Constance Wilde with son Cyril  in 1889 when Cyril would have been about four. Photograph: Merlin Holland Archive

Constance Wilde with son Cyril in 1889 when Cyril would have been about four. Photograph: Merlin Holland Archive

Constance Wilde has long haunted the myth of her husband Oscar. Posterity has variously portrayed her as matronly, naive, cruel, wronged, blinded by the prejudices of her era. In Andrew Meehan’s novel – his second – Constance shunts Oscar to the side to take centre-stage at last.

Meehan tells the fictionalised story of their marriage through her eyes, though Oscar is not excluded from proceedings entirely. Constance’s version of events is peppered with asterisks which draw the eye to the bottom of the page, where Oscar makes himself heard in italics.

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