Named one of the best books of 2018 by The Washington Post, The Seattle Times, and The Advocate

“Staggeringly brilliant . . . You’ll start The Maze of Windermere with bewilderment, but you’ll close it in awe.” — The Washington Post

“Pitch perfect.” — New York Times Book Review

About the Book

A reckless wager between a tennis pro with a fading career and a drunken party guest — the stakes are an antique motorcycle and an heiress’s diamond necklace — launches a narrative odyssey that braids together three centuries of aspiration and adversity. A witty and urbane bachelor of the Gilded Age embarks on a high-risk scheme to marry into a fortune; a young writer soon to make his mark turns himself to his craft with harrowing social consequences; an aristocratic British officer during the American Revolution carries on a courtship that leads to murder; and, in Newport’s earliest days, a tragically orphaned Quaker girl imagines a way forward for herself and the slave girl she has inherited. 

In The Maze at Windermere Gregory Blake Smith weaves these intersecting worlds into a brilliant tapestry, charting a voyage across the ages into the maze of the human heart.

Praise for The Maze

“Not since Beautiful Ruins have I read a novel with such breadth of imagination or depth of heart, nor a cast of characters so real, so varied, so compelling. In five exquisitely braided tales spanning nearly four centuries, Gregory Blake Smith illuminates the everlasting power of our passions and the hazard of our follies — in essence, the many ways we mortals strive and yearn toward the center of the maze we each call life. This book is a tour de force: gorgeous, suspenseful, cunning, and wise.

— Julia Glass, author of the National Book Award-winning Three Junes

“Gregory Blake Smith’s The Maze at Windermere is a dazzling high-wire act. I turned every page with a sense of wonder and excitement.

— Richard Russo, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Empire Falls

The Maze at Windermere is an astonishing book — prismatic, continually surprising, daring not only in structure but in its investigation of the human heart. Somehow it manages to be both ruthless and tender. On top of all that, it’s wildly, hurtlingly entertaining. 

— Leah Hager Cohen, author of The Grief of Others 

The Maze at Windermere is thrilling. This novel restored my faith and made me laugh out loud. It’s rare that a novel comes along that is broad-ranging, so very funny, profound, provocative, literary and page-turning, and also, word perfect. I went right back to the beginning when I’d finished, marveling again at the radiant mind of Gregory Blake Smith.

— Jane Hamilton, bestselling author of A Map of the World

“Smith’s vibrant mix of beautiful writing, clarity of voices, flow of history and storytelling, and philosophical reflections had me slowing my pace to stretch out its pleasures.”


“Staggeringly brilliant . . . You’ll start The Maze of Windermere with bewilderment, but you’ll close it in awe.”

The Washington Post

“Pitch perfect . . . Smith’s ability to capture the character of the languages used in each of his historical periods is remarkable.”

New York Times

“Compelling…. Award-winning novelist Smith moves nimbly among his tales’ various settings and diverse characters within the confines of Newport…. [An] intricate tale.”

Library Journal, starred review

“Taken individually, each story is dramatic and captivating, but as the author makes ever-increasing connections among the stories and shuffles them all into one unbroken narrative, the novel becomes a moving meditation on love, race, class, and self-fulfillment in America across the centuries.”

— Publishers Weekly, starred review

“The changing language, landscape, and mores of three centuries of American history are depicted with verisimilitude, highlighting what doesn’t change at all: the aspirations and crimes of the human heart.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Newport, Rhode Island, with its rich history and tradition of wealthy summer visitors, is the setting for the intricately designed and suspenseful fourth novel by the author of The Divine Comedy of John Venner (1992).”

Booklist, starred review