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Mortal Love by Elizabeth Hand
At the beginning of Mortal Love, a young woman in a German insane asylum in the 1880s dies in a fire when she spontaneously combusts. For the next century, various men pursue this mysterious red-haired madwoman. They are often painters and writers whose art, which links many of the stories together, is often inspired by her. Elizabeth Hand's novel moves seamlessly through time as men's obsession with beauty draws them into a fire which may be their undoing. Mortal Love is not just a thriller in search of the secrets that hold all the stories together, but also an exploration of the forces behind artistic inspiration. Mortal Love has received positive reviews with the Detroit Free Press calling it "bewitching, sexy, creepy and, under all, dazzlingly romantic."