Katie Grainger's Reviews > The Great Lover

The Great Lover by Jill Dawson
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Aug 04, 2011

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Read in June, 2009

There were many things I really enjoyed about this novel depicting the life of Rupert Brooke. It is well researched, atmospheric and ultimately clever. Jill Dawson has taken the letters, poems and prose of Rupert Brooke and made him into her own character. In stark contrast to Rupert is Nell Golightly who leaves her home in the Fens to become a maid at The Old Vicarage where Rupert is staying. Nell falls for Brooke in the same way that all men and women seem to but from the start she recognises that it is a hopelessly doomed. A good read but I have to admit that I was far more interested in Nell than Rupert with his self indulgence and guilt about his feelings, Nell was a wonderful character and by the end of the novel it felt like I knew her, in fact I went back to read over the first letter that she had written in the book to better remember how she remembered Brooke.

My favorite passage in the book was the kiss in the bee hives, it evoked feelings of first romance, adventure and freedom. On the whole this is not an easy read in parts but fantastic for conjuring up a time I have never known.
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