He was a graduate student at Harvard and she was an amateur actress when Tom Eliot first fell in love with Emily Hale. But that was before he set off for Oxford and published the poems that turned him into the international celebrity known as T.S. Eliot. Across two continents and over more than 40 years, Emily was a comforting force in the poet’s emotionally turbulent life, guarding their secrets in the hope that someday the two of them would marry.
In the spirit of The Paris Wife and Loving Frank, The Poet’s Girl brings to life another little-known woman behind a famous man. The novel by award-winning writer Sara Fitzgerald arrives as Hale’s own gift to Eliot scholars—the more than 1,000 letters the poet wrote her over the course of their lifetimes—is opened after a 50-year embargo. The Poet’s Girl tells the story of a woman whose own story will never be fully known: the woman behind one of Eliot’s most treasured poems and a woman whose greatest act of love was to bury her side of their story.
“In her well-written and memorable novel, Sara Fitzgerald has brought to life the ill-starred romance between T.S. Eliot and the talented actress Emily Hale. Narrated from Hale's first-person point of view, the book explores the faithful love and frustrations of a resilient woman constrained by the mores of her social set.”
--Meryl Gordon, best-selling author of
Bunny Mellon: The Life of an American Style Legend
“In the spirit of The Paris Wife and Loving Frank, The Poet's Girl explores the rich, compelling life of Emily Hale, T.S. Eliot's earliest love and longtime confidante. This is a literary love story of the highest magnitude, and Sara Fitzgerald brings a journalist's keen insight into the back story of one of our most renowned poets--and the woman who stood by him. "
--Susan Coll, best-selling author of Rockville Pike
"Sara Fitzgerald has found a compelling and little-known story, and brought the relationship between Emily Hale and TS Eliot to vivid life. An enthralling novel about love, betrayal, and thwarted dreams."
--Louisa Treger, best-selling author of the The Lodger
Emily Hale/Smith College Archives
Michelle Taylor shares discoveries from the Eliot-Hale letters
The New Yorker, December 5, 2020
Lyndall Gordon writes about the opening of the letters T.S. Eliot wrote Emily Hale
The Telegraph, October 11, 2019
A May 2019 blog post by Princeton University Library about the Eliot-Hale letters
A U.S.-based organization focused on the study of T.S. Eliot
Poem in New York Times magazine by Alison C. Rollins