- February 1st 2011
- 448 pages
- LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2008
- LONGLISTED FOR THE ORANGE PRIZE 2008
Arnold’s knowledge of Dickens is impeccable, and she uses fiction to give Mrs D what she never had – a chance to interview her husband’s mistress, and reclaim her beloved children. Beautifully written, entirely satisfying
A fine work of imagination and compassion that offers up other ways for us to understand a popular genius and those who loved him
Arnold’s portrayal of Gibson/Dickens is spot on – charismatic, theatrical, depressive; preoccupied with death and with childhood; endlessly courting celebrity and reputation
Beloved writer Alfred Gibson’s funeral is taking place at Westminster Abbey, and Dorothea, his wife of twenty years, has not been invited. Gibson’s will favours his many children and secret mistress over Dorothea – who was sent away from the family home when their youngest was still an infant. Dorothea hasn’t left her apartment in years, but when she receives a surprise invitation to a private audience with Queen Victoria she is shocked to find she had much in common with Her Majesty. With renewed confidence Dorothea is spurred to examine her past and confront not only her family but the pretty young actress Miss Ricketts.