Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Great Lover by Jill Dawson

Students of English literature learn of poet Rupert Brooke through his famous works The Old Vicarage, Grantchester (1912) and The Soldier (1914), written on his way to war. Brooke never made it to the battlefield, dying of sepsis from a mosquito bite, on a French hospital ship in the Aegean Sea in 1915, yet he is considered the first of the famous WWI poets. Dying at the age of 27, Brooke led an adventurous life from the South Seas to North America, leaving trails of heartbroken women, and some say men, in his wake. Jill Dawson's The Great Lover covers a period of about five years in Brooke's life, beginning in 1909 when he rents rooms in the Orchard, a popular tea house that takes in boarders, mostly students from nearby Cambridge University.
The story opens in 1982 when elderly Nell Golightly receives a letter from a stranger in Tahiti. The letter has been addressed to anyone living who might know of events at the Orchard when Rupert Brooke was a resident, and has been passed on to Nell because she was a young housemaid there at the time. The author of the letter claims to possibly be the natural daughter of Rupert Brooke, conceived during his visit there in 1914. Because her mother did not know Brooke for long, she did not have many stories to tell her daughter, and all she wants now is to get to know him through others before she dies.
Thus begin Nell's stories of her memories of Brooke, sharing her feelings as a girl from the mind of a woman who has experienced the world. A sensible seventeen year-old, she has taken the job of housemaid at the Orchard to bring in money for her five younger siblings now that both of their parents are gone. The world of philosophizing university students waxing poetical over their ale and lounging about for hours is totally foreign to Nell, and she begins to fall under the spell of the dashingly romantic Mr. Brooke.The Great Loveris known for his publicized romance with the actress Catherine Nesbitt, and engagement to Noel Olivier, but could this man of the world have loved a housemaid, and was he even capable of love at all?
Told from the points of view of both Nell and Brooke,The Great Loveris interesting historical fiction that gives a perspective on the daily life and possible thoughts of man often in the limelight during his lifetime.
Many other bloggers are sharing their thoughts on The Great Lover through a TLC Book Tour. Sit down and have a relaxing drink while reading more about this fascinating man who lived several lifetimes in less than 30 years.
You can also find other great books being reviewed at Cym Lowell's Book Review Party Wednesday!



jewelknits said...

Wow; I totally want this book now!! I LOVE LOVE historical fiction, and hearing the perspectives of both a 'lowly' housemaid and the privileged male that she catered to seems like a fascinating read! Thanks for another great review!

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

Charlie Courtland said...

Drop by to get this party started! Found you at Cym's and now I'm a fellow book blog follower/twitter. I'm happy to be linked up with the evil overlord!

Bitsy Bling's Book Review

greece_traveller said...

Your blog is very interesting, good job! I am a new blogger and because of my love for Santorini (a Greek island) I started this blog. Check it out.

Kathy said...

NIce review, made me want to read this book. Your blog looks great!

Lisa West said...

Awe, Linky gone...I hope it was successful!! I did some surfing and commenting. It's fun to see who else is in the area. Lisa

Coloradolady said...

I missed you this week, just stopping by to say hey!! Hope all is well, maybe you are out of town and I missed that...anyway, thought I would tell you I missed your post...I think this was a first!!

heathertlc said...

Glad to hear you enjoyed this one. Thanks for being a part of the tour!