13 August 2010

Featuring . . . The Great Lover by Jill Dawson

This Friday and every Friday for the next several months I'll be featuring a book in the Harper Perennial Imprint. Some were recently published, some will be released later this year, all are worth a closer look.

Let me admit right off that if I hadn't read a number of positive reviews on book blogs that I trust, I might have passed this novel by. But The Great Lover by Jill Dawson turns out to combine several elements that usually appeal to me.

First let's take a look at the publisher's summary:

In 1909, sixteen-year-old Nell Golightly is a housemaid at a popular tea garden near Cambridge University, and Rupert Brooke, a new tenant, is already causing a stir with his boyish good looks and habit of swimming naked in nearby Byron's Pool. Despite her good sense, Nell seems to be falling under the radical young poet's spell, even though Brooke apparently adores no one but himself. Could he ever love a housemaid? Is he, in fact, capable of love at all?

Jill Dawson's The Great Lover imaginatively and playfully gives new voice to Rupert Brooke through the poet's own words and through the remembrances of the spirited Nell. An extraordinary novel, it powerfully conveys the allure of charisma as it captures the mysterious and often perverse workings of the human heart.
So what is it that attracts me to this novel? First it is based on real people, making the novel seem to cross the line into biography (a genre I love). Next, Brook knew the Bloomsbury Group and lived during a time when thoughts on sexuality, the British class system, and women's rights were changing. Finally, the poet lived a scandalous existence, traveled the world, and died very young, all of which add to his legend.

Here some book blogger reviews that caught my attention:
  • Vasilly from 1330V: "One of the things I love about The Great Lover is all the historical facts that the author gives reader."
  • Elizabeth from As Usual, I Need More Bookshelves: "I found Dawson's portrayal of two colliding worlds - Rupert's one of education and privilege, and Nell's one of hard work and struggle - to be quite compelling."
  • Robin from My Two Blessings: "The book is historical fiction and was eye opening and educational to say the least. It's one of those books that had me running to look things up on the internet, to find out more."
The Great Lover was a June 2010 Indie Next pick. Learn more about Jill Dawson by visiting her website or by watching this short interview with her from her May 2010 visit to New Zealand:



This book was featured as part of my Spotlight on the Harper Perennial imprint. For information about the imprint, please read Erica Barmash's welcome note posted here on June 18, 2010. I encourage you to add your reviews of Harper Perennial books to the review link-up page; it's a great way to discover Good Books for Cool People. You might also want to visit the The Olive Reader, the Harper Perennial blog.

The Great Lover at Powell's
The Great Lover at Book Depository
These links lead to affiliate programs.

Published by HarperCollins / Harper Perennial, June 2010
ISBN-13: 9780061924361

12 comments:

Julie P. 8/13/10, 8:04 AM  

I have to admit that I'm not that familiar with this one, but it does look good. That's why I love features that bring new books to me!

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) 8/13/10, 9:31 AM  

I am looking forward to reading this one. I knew that I wanted to right away, so I am glad to see that others are enjoying it as well.

Literate Housewife 8/13/10, 9:41 AM  

I enjoyed reading this one for a TLC Tour earlier this summer. I would definitely recommend it.

Heather 8/13/10, 11:31 AM  

Oh! This sounds so good! I can't believe I've never heard of this one.

bermudaonion 8/13/10, 12:32 PM  

The fact that it's based on a true event piques my interest too.

Michele at Reader's Respite 8/13/10, 1:49 PM  

I've had my eye on this one for a bit now....and last week I noticed that Costco was carrying it. I promised myself that if it was still there when I do my grocery shopping next week, I'd buy it as a reward (a reward for getting my sorry butt to the grocery store, of course).

Sandy Nawrot 8/13/10, 4:27 PM  

I remember several reviews of this one passing by my eyes and it appealed for a number of reasons. I love to read about things that really happened (so I can chase stuff down on the Internet). And Costco is really the best way to buy books, because it falls under the "misc" expense (like Target). Easy to get away with that type of expense!

Robin McCormack 8/15/10, 1:40 PM  

Thanks for linking to my review. I highly recommend it.

Beth Kephart 8/15/10, 5:27 PM  

The books I discover from reading you is adding up to quite the large number....

Jenners 8/15/10, 8:44 PM  

Sounds like a nice mix of fact and fiction!

Care 8/17/10, 7:55 AM  

This is one of my BEA books that I'm most excited to get to. I am interested for the same reasons you are.

Alice Teh 8/21/10, 10:44 AM  

I like the sound of this one. It's going into my wish list.

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