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The Great Lover by Jill Dawson
  

Lovereading view...

Fact and fiction intertwine in this beautifully told story about a love affair between Rupert Brooke and a housemaid called Nell. Using diary entries, letters and poems Jill Dawson crafts a story that inspires the reader to want to read more about Brooke while enjoying an absorbing and mesmerising tale.

April 2010 Guest Editor Katharine McMahon on Jill Dawson...

The Great Lover is a novel about a poet, Rupert Brooke, that pushes past the cliches of tea on the lawn at Grantchester and takes an utterly fresh look at the poet. The writing is very clear and precise and makes for a fascinating read. And what's more, I was inspired to go and read Brooke's poetry too.

Reviewed on Richard & Judy on Wednesday 10 June 2009.

February 2009 Good Housekeeping selection.

The Good Housekeeping view...

Dripping with deliciously sensual allusions to beekeeping, this is an elegantly entwined story of self-discovery and wild, poetic love. When 90-year-old Nellie Golightly receives a letter from a Tahitian woman asking if she can supply her with memories of her father, Rupert Brooke, Nellie is transported back to her bucolic teenage years in the Orchard Tea Garden, Granchester, where she met, and fell hotly in love, with the desperately flirtatious young poet. Fact and quite wonderful fabrication blend together in this bewitching novel.

If you like Jill Dawson you might also like to read books by Hannah Beckerman, Laura Moriarty and Lionel Shriver.

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Synopsis

The Great Lover by Jill Dawson

In the summer of 1909, sixteen-year-old Nell Golightly is the new maid at the Orchard Tea Gardens in Cambridgeshire when Rupert Brooke moves in as a lodger. Famed for his looks and flouting of convention, the young poet captures the hearts of men and women alike, yet his own seems to stay intact. Even Nell, despite her good sense, begins to fall for him. What is his secret?

This captivating novel gives voice to Rupert Brooke himself in a tale of mutual fascination and inner turmoil, set at a time of great social unrest. Revealing a man far more complex and radical than legend suggests, it powerfully conveys the allure – and curse – of charisma.

Reviews

Moving, intelligent, beautifully written and hugely enjoyable Sunday Times Dawson brilliantly evokes Brooke's volatility, his inner dissolution and ultimate breakdown. Independent Strong, satisfying and memorable Helen Dunmore, The Times Not only engaging and seductive, it is also clever, witty and artfully designed Times Literary Supplement An exceptional book even from the prize-winning Dawson - clever, moving, sexy and with a mesmerising feel for that magical, optimistic, but doomed time just before the Great War Daily Mail Nell is a wonderful creation: resilient, intelligent and heart-breakingly innocent ... [Dawson]manages not only an impressive evocation of Brooke's milieu but a compelling reassessment of a poet often dismissed by modern readers ... most of all, her novel digs Brooke out of that corner of a foreign field that is forever cliche Time Out Jill Dawson has created a convincing world of huge pathos; a subtle, evocative anti-fairy-tale of doomed youth by one of Britain's most subtle and accomplished writers Liz Jensen, Waterstone's Books Quarterly The Great Lover has many wonderful scenes ... But it is remarkable principally for its Rupert Brooke, glorious in all his agony and shame, particularly as he sees his sanity slipping away from him ... this novel shows a rare mastery of materials. Dawson has worked the imaginary character of Nell so seamlessly into the narrative of Brooke's life that Nell seems to belong there. It is difficult to see where the many direct quotations from letters and memories end and Dawson's imagination begins. Daily Telegraph


About the Author

Jill Dawson

Jill Dawson is the author of TRICK OF THE LIGHT, MAGPIE, FRED AND EDIE, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Award and the Orange Prize, and WILD BOY, all published by Sceptre to critical acclaim. WATCH ME DISAPPEAR, her latest novel, will be published by Sceptre in March 2006. She is also an award-winning poet and has edited several anthologies including The Virago Book of Wicked Verse, and, with Margo Daly, Wild Ways. She was the British Council Fellow at Amherst College, Massachusetts, in 1997 and is currently the Royal Literary Fund Fellow in Writing at the University of East Anglia. Born in Durham, she now lives with her family in the Fens.

Photograph © Luke White

Fellow novelist Katharine McMahon on Jill Dawson...

The Great Lover is a novel about a poet, Rupert Brooke, that pushes past the cliches of tea on the lawn at Grantchester and takes an utterly fresh look at the poet. The writing is very clear and precise and makes for a fascinating read. And what's more, I was inspired to go and read Brooke's poetry too.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th April 2009

Author

Jill Dawson

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Author's Website

www.jilldawson.co.uk/
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Publisher

Hodder & Stoughton General Division

Format

Paperback
336 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
eBook Favourites
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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780340935668

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