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In the Blink of an Eye
By Ali Bacon
Published By

Linen Press

ISBN 978-0-9935997-2-9
Non Fiction Genre Historical
Publication Date 04/13/2018
Price 9.99
Paperback Hyperlink http://www.linen-press.com/shop/
Ebook Hyperlink http://www.linen-press.com/shop/


‘He had Edinburgh at his feet, but who would be by his side?’

In 1843, Edinburgh artist, David Octavius Hill meets Robert Adamson from St Andrews and an iconic partnership is born. Hill is a popular, charismatic figure in the art world. Adamson is a technical genius in the new science of photography. The magic they create with their camera soon makes them the darlings of society. In the Blink of an Eye is a re-imagining of Hill’s life in the words of those who sat for him.

Author's Bio

After a degree in Classics from St Andrews University, Ali Bacon worked in Oxford’s Bodleian Library where she discovered a cache of famous Victorian photographs. So began a life-long interest in early photography. After a career as an academic librarian, Kettle of Fish, was published in 2012 by Thornberry. In the Blink of an Eye combines her interests in fiction and photography. Ali now lives in Bristol where she writes and performs her work at live events.


“Poignant and charged with hope”
– Vanessa Gebbie, author and judge of Evesham Festival Short Story Prize 2017 (Chapter 3, The Bird of Wax)

“That moment of dawning self-consciousness, so delicately rendered, yet so resonant … just knocked my socks off”
– Nick Bellorini, photography publisher and judge of Magic Oxygen Prize 2017 (Chapter 6, Silver Harvest)

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  1. What an enjoyable novel this is! An accomplished combination of both fact and fiction centred around the birth of photography in Victorian Edinburgh. The reader is drawn into the world of art and the paintings of D. O. Hill and his collaboration with the calotypist, Robert Adamson. The author has cleverly used the narrative of various women connected with Hill and Adamson not only to relate their own stories but to give another insight into the character of the two men. This book is clearly well researched and is full of historical facts and captivating descriptions of Victorian Edinburgh and Newhaven. Characters are beautifully portrayed so that the reader becomes immersed in this fascinating time in Scottish history.

  2. Fascinating subject and fascinating characters, including a wealth of research without ever getting bogged down.

  3. A beautifully written book that reads like a Classic. Well researched, clever and interesting.

  4. A compelling read with interesting characters and with the satisfying blend of history, art and the anticipation of romance.

  5. Through the eyes of women close to the key players, the early history (in mid-1880s Edinburgh) of the science, art and social impact of photography is brought vividly alive. This may sound dry, or of only specialist interest, but it is neither. The writing is often startlingly beautiful, the characters very engaging, and the moving personal stories of the two pioneers – D. O. Hill (artist) and Robert Adamson (photography) – kept me engrossed throughout. An intelligent, accomplished novel that deserves a wide readership.

  6. Sublimely crafted book, gently persuasive and utterly captivating.

  7. Well-researched and beautifully written, with a strong period atmosphere that has me wanting to visit Edinburgh again.

  8. Quite captivating! There is a freshness about it and a quality of description that paints pictures in the mind. It draws the reader into the plot with anticipation of what is to come…

  9. I so enjoyed reading this book and hope there is anpther in the pipe
    line very soon.

  10. Lovely!!!!!

  11. A great book combining fiction with very detailed research. Beautifully written, very readable and extremely enjoyable.

  12. I loved the gentle story combined with real history of the middle 1840s when the Church of Scotland split and the Free Church of Scotland began. It was even more poignant as one of my ancestors was one such minister!
    The characters were all part of a ‘big picture’ when David Hill with the help of Robert Adamson undertook to paint all 400 ministers who signed the Declaration. The painting can be seen in Edinburgh today.
    Well done Ali!

  13. What a brilliant idea to weave the story around these real historical people so beautifully done.
    To hear the different voices commenting on the same events and how they impact on them and the society around.

    As an Edinburgh lass born and bred but now a long way away it was super to recognise and feel so at home in the setting giving real pictures in my head to focus the characters on.

    This is Ali’s second book very different from her last, looking forward to what ever she turns her hand and enthusiasm to next.

    Well done Ali long may your lum reek!!!

  14. A truly wonderful book!

  15. It’s not really non-fiction. It’s a novel in which history is reworked imaginatively. This is slow, delicate, brave and eventually emotionally involving as well as fascinating.

  16. Well-researched and compelling.

  17. A must- read. Really enjoyable!

  18. A technical and emotional triumph. Apparently effortless combination of fiction and biography, in which each chapter is a short story and each short story is beautiful. But the whole is greater than the sum of the parts! Don’t miss this one.

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