Rebecca is the author of Unto This Last - the first biographical novel dedicated to the Victorian art critic, social commentator and philanthropist, John Ruskin.
Having developed a passion for Victorian art and literature from a young age, Rebecca first discovered John Ruskin through E.M. Forster’s novel, A Room with a View, and later joined the Ruskin Society at the age of seventeen to learn more about Ruskin’s work. Rebecca says, “Most accounts of John Ruskin’s complex personal life focus on his brief marriage to Effie Gray, but his seventeen-year relationship with his young Irish student Rose La Touche was of much greater importance; theirs is captivating and tragic story of two people whose loving friendship transcended boundaries and conventions to the very end.”
London, 1858. Passionate, contradictory, and fiercely loyal to his friends, John Ruskin is an eccentric genius, famed across Britain for his writings on art and philosophy. Haunted by a scandalous past and determined never to love again, the 39-year-old Ruskin shuns polite society in favour of a quiet existence at Denmark Hill, the home he shares with his domineering parents. Reluctantly accepting a request by an Irish aristocrat to tutor her daughters in art, Ruskin becomes infatuated with his enigmatic student, Rose La Touche, an obsession with profound consequences that will change the course of his life and work.
Written in a style recalling Victorian literature and spanning a period of almost 20 years, the story poses questions about the nature of love, the boundaries of parenthood and compatibility in marriage. Unto This Last is a man behind the genius portrait of Ruskin’s tormented psyche and reveals a complex and misunderstood soul, longing for a life just out of reach.