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Gwendolen A Novel by Diana Souhami

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

Set in the middle of the 19th century, this is the story of Gwendolen Harleth from her early twenties on. It is always from her point of view and told as if she were writing to Daniel Deronda, the recipient of her unrequited love and admiration. She is a character from the George Eliot novel so it is fascinating to see that tale from a different angle. Those familiar with the original will no doubt compare and contrast. Those not will enjoy a fascinating historical romance with edge and depth which brings in Eliot and her friends so mixes fact and fiction. It shows a liberated Gwendolen opening herself to new ideas which contrasts with both the main male characters allowing their obsessions to restrict them. A fascinating concept and interesting portrayal of the period.

If you like Diana Souhami you might also like to read books by Hilary Mantel, Jo Baker and P D James.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Gwendolen first makes an appearance in George Eliot’s classic tale Daniel Deronda, and here she takes centre stage as we follow the life and travails of this beautiful heroine. To save her family from a life of poverty and hardship when her mother is suddenly made penniless, Gwendolen accepts the offer of marriage from the wealthy Grandcourt, naively hoping that a life of luxury as his wife would more than make up for her lack of feelings for him. She chose to ignore the rumours of his past mis-demeanours only discovering, when it was too late, the true extent of Grandcourt’s cold and sadistic nature, and realised she had made a terrible mistake. Was there any way she could escape a life of misery? This wonderfully, compelling period novel is a clever mix of history and fiction, following headstrong, inexperienced Gwendolen, as she negotiates the restrictions put on Victorian women at that time.
~ Caroline White


Gwendolen A Novel by Diana Souhami

I was winning until I met your gaze...Gambling at the roulette tables of the Kursaal, Gwendolen Harleth glances up to meet Daniel Deronda's arresting stare. Striking, selfish and wilful, she is at that moment the mistress of her destiny. Thirty years on, the flawed heroine and true protagonist of Eliot's last great novel writes her confessional to the man whose ever-imagined gaze has prevailed throughout her life. The egotism, naivete and sensitivity of her blazing youth is evoked with bittersweet wisdom; a passionate remembrance of the events leading up to the marriage that broke her spirit, and the loss of the man who broke her heart. Moving, original and elegant, this is a bravura re-imagining of the life of one of English literature's most multi-faceted and contradictory heroines.


'A bold feat of imagination ... The result is intriguing and moving ... a powerful meditation upon the nature of creativity. Both an arresting interpretation of George Eliot's work and a compelling fiction in its own right, Gwendolen will be whispering in my ear next time I go back to Daniel Deronda, reminding me to look for the story behind the story'
Rebecca Mead, author of The Road to Middlemarch

About the Author

Diana Souhami

Diana Souhami is the author of many widely acclaimed books, and she has also written plays for radio and television. She won the Whitbread Biography Award for Selkirk's Island.

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Book Info

Publication date

9th September 2014


Diana Souhami

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riverrun an imprint of Quercus Publishing


304 pages


Historical fiction



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