September 11th 2008
£9.99
448 pages
B-Format Jacketed Paperback
ISBN
9780955647611

Prizes

  • LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2008
  • LONGLISTED FOR THE ORANGE PRIZE FOR FICTION 2009
  • LONGLISTED FOR THE DESMOND ELLIOTT PRIZE 2009
  • SHORTLISTED FOR THE MCKITTERICK PRIZE 2009
  • LONGLISTED FOR LE PRINCE MAURICE 2010
  • SHORTLISTED FOR THE WAVERTON GOOD READ AWARD 2010

Girl in a Blue Dress by Gaynor Arnold

Buy Now Price £9.99

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

Times

Alfred Gibson’s funeral has taken place at Westminster Abbey, and his wife of twenty years, Dorothea, has not been invited. Dorothea is comforted by her feisty daughter Kitty, until an invitation for a private audience with Queen Victoria arrives, and she begins to examine her own life more closely.

She uncovers the deviousness and hypnotic power of her celebrity author husband. But now Dodo will need to face her grown-up children, and worse, her redoubtable younger sister, Sissy and the charming actress, Miss Ricketts.

In Alfred Gibson the fierce energy and brilliance of the most famous of the Victorian novelists is recreated, in a heart-warming story of first love – of a cocky young writer smitten by a pretty girl in a blue dress.

A fine work of imagination and compassion that offers up other ways for us to understand a popular genius and those who loved him

Telegraph

Fabulously indulgent Victoriana . . . a lovely, rich evocation of the period that rises above the faintly damning ‘historical fiction’ label with its complex characterisation and silky prose. It also seems apposite—a neat rendering of a celebrity marriage with all the pressure and expectation that courting fame invites. Wag hopefuls take note—anyone who belongs to the public can never really belong to you

Observer

A fascinating portrait of a Victorian woman in the near-impossible position of maintaining a sense of self while married to a famous, difficult and wildly charismatic genius

Metro

With his manic energy and flamboyant waistcoats, Gibson is a Dickensian character – and no wonder, for Arnold’s inspiration for her wholly absorbing novel lies in the complex married life of Charles Dickens and his wife, Catherine

Daily Mail

Arnold’s portrayal of Gibson/Dickens is spot on – charismatic, theatrical, depressive; preoccupied with death and with childhood; endlessly courting celebrity and reputation

Guardian

Girl in a Blue Dress is exceptionally well controlled in its playing of past against present. It’s best, perhaps, for those who don’t know much about the life of Dickens; but its success as a novel lies in working independently of such knowledge

William Palmer, Independent

With Gaynor Arnold’s Girl in a Blue Dress the Birmingham indie house Tindal Street Press confirms its magic touch

Boyd Tonkin, Independent

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