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The Great Lover
Cover of The Great Lover
The Great Lover
A Novel
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"A brilliant, complicated man is the centre of Jill Dawson's The Great Lover, and while she draws extensively on historical records of Brooke and his contemporaries, it is her decisions as a novelist that make this account of his life fascinating as well as faithful. . . . . The story that emerges is strong, satisfying, and memorable." — The Times (London)

An imaginative, fascinating novel about one of the most enduringly popular and romantic figures of the First World War—the radical, handsome young poet Rupert Brooke.

"A brilliant, complicated man is the centre of Jill Dawson's The Great Lover, and while she draws extensively on historical records of Brooke and his contemporaries, it is her decisions as a novelist that make this account of his life fascinating as well as faithful. . . . . The story that emerges is strong, satisfying, and memorable." — The Times (London)

An imaginative, fascinating novel about one of the most enduringly popular and romantic figures of the First World War—the radical, handsome young poet Rupert Brooke.

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About the Author-
  • Jill Dawson is the author of Trick of the Light, Magpie, Fred and Edie, which was short-listed for the Whitbread Novel Award and the Orange Prize, Wild Boy, Watch Me Disappear, which was long-listed for the Orange Prize, The Great Lover, and Lucky Bunny. She has edited six anthologies of short stories and poetry, and has written for numerous UK publications, including The Guardian, The Times, Vogue, and Harper's Bazaar. She lives in Norfolk with her husband and two sons.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 19, 2010
    Dawson (Trick of Light
    ) adroitly weaves together fact and fiction in this artful account of British poet Rupert Brooke's mental breakdown in the years before WWI. Boyishly handsome, Brooke arrives in Grantchester, England, and quickly begins a series of tangled romances. He woos a reserved schoolgirl, loses his virginity to a male friend, and flirts shamelessly with numerous women. Observing these ill-advised exploits is a no-nonsense housemaid, Nell Golightly, who, recently orphaned, thinks of herself as immune to love. Then one fateful evening she comes across Brooke naked, on his way for a night swim. Their subsequent relationship is complicated by class and Brooke's bisexuality. For Nell, the relationship poignantly marks the boundary between childhood and adulthood, while for Brooke, Nell provides a counterpoint to his other sexually confusing relationships. Finally, insecure about his poetry, grappling with his brother's death, and shattered by his failed affairs, Brooke begins to come undone, eventually finding solace with a Tahitian woman. Burrowing deep inside Brooke's mind, Nell is a capable narrator, and the result is a believable, sensitive portrayal of a “great lover's” search for love.

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    HarperCollins
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The Great Lover
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