Possession: A Romance is the second stand-alone novel by British author Antonia S. Byatt, and winner of the 1990 Booker Prize. Roland Michell is a literary scholar whose special interest is 19th century poet, Randolph Henry Ash. When he happens upon drafts of letters written by Ash to an unnamed woman, his investigations lead him to another 19th century poet, Christabel LaMotte, and the expert on that poet’s works, Professor Maud Bailey. Using a fascinating combination of folk tales, myths, sagas, memoirs, journals, letters, fairy tales, biographies and many poems, Byatt tells the stories of the romance of Randolph Ash and Christabel LaMotte, and, eventually, Roland Michell and Maud Bailey. As she slowly builds up this romance, Byatt also comments on faith and religion, the dissection of literary works, lesbianism and feminism, writing, reading and the ownership of literary treasures. Parallels abound between the two romances, although the action doesn’t really hot up until the final 80 pages, with an exciting graveyard climax and a lump-in-the-throat epilogue. While there is an abundance of verbose old letters, virtually impenetrable text about poets’ works and long tracts of 19th century poetry, these do give the work authenticity and some readers may enjoy these even if others find them tedious. Certainly, Byatt manages to craft characters whose fate the reader cares about, be they 19th century poets or 20th century scholars. Worth persisting with.