Starring Nell Stone as Margaret Mead – heh – And Schuyler Fenwick (Fen) as Reo Fortune, Nell’s husband, a New Zealand social anthropologist , as Mead’s second husband and field co-researcher. Andrew Bankson plays the part of Gregory Bateson, anthropology scholar and eventually Mead’s 3rd husband. There’s also Betty Sumner – 2nd wife – is this the Bette in the novel? And Ruth Benedict, a later romantic interest for Margaret, played by Helen in a brief flashback.
The three field researchers are studying the tribes of the Sepik Basin of New Guinea but the names of the tribes have also been changed for the novel. –
The story is told from the points of view of Bankson and Nell, Bankson’s portions using first person at a much later time, Nell’s from notes and letters she wrote at the time.
I was prepared to really dislike this book for the emphasis I thought there would be on the romance – wrong, that starts subtle and is developed gradually with a lot of fascinating and well written narrative forming the bulk. Much of what King describes is historical, but the plot line is almost entirely fiction I think. And for that reason I can’t really call it historical fiction.
Bottom line – it took me hours and hours to finish the last 30 pages or so – I really didn’t want it to end so I found all sorts of stuff to keep me busy – even vacuuming!
Nice historical background: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/mead/field-sepik.html