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Publisher's Summary

Fifteen years ago, Vida Avery arrived alone and pregnant at elite Fayer Academy. By living on campus, on an island off the New England coast, Vida has cocooned herself and her son, Peter, from the outside world and from an inside secret. For years, she has lived largely through the books she teaches, but when she accepts the impulsive marriage proposal of ardent widower Tom Belou, the prescribed life Vida has constructed is swiftly dismantled.

As Vida begins teaching her signature book, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, a tale of an ostracized woman and social injustice, its themes begin to echo eerily in her own life. Peter sees that the mother he perceived as indomitable is collapsing, and it is up to him to help.

The English Teacher is a passionate tale of a mother and son's vital bond and a provocative look at our notions of intimacy, honesty, loyalty, family, and the real meaning of home.

©2005 Lily King (P)2006 Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

"King writes with subtle clarity, displaying an intuitive understanding of the vulnerable psyches of teenagers, and with pinpoint perception of her characters' inner lives." (Booklist

What listeners say about The English Teacher

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Sherry
  • 26-10-2006


While the boy is well drawn, the English teacher (Vida)herself is a figure manipulated by the author to fit her plan, rather than being a rounded, convincing character. The parallel to Tess is forced and heavy-handed, as is the metaphor of the Iran hostage situation. Because Vida's actions are not fictionally justified, it is difficult to maintain interest in her or empathy for her. This novel needed another revision before being published.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Katja Thomakos
  • 23-09-2017

Beautifully written

A wonderful story with complex characters. I didn't want it to end! Love this author!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Aaren
  • 10-12-2016

If you escape by reading, beware

First the image is of another book, confusing and annoying. The book itself was great with sneaky layers

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