Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Girl In A Blue Dress

Arnold, Gaynor. 2008. Girl In A Blue Dress. Crown Publishing. 414 pages.

My husband's funeral is today. And I'm sitting here alone in my upstairs room while half of London follows him to his grave. I should be angry, I suppose.

Loosely based on the wife of Charles Dickens--their broken marriage--it is the story of Dorothea "Dodo" and Alfred Gibson. Alfred Gibson is the One and Only, an author esteemed by just about everybody, everywhere. But what is his home life like? What kind of father is he? What kind of husband?

The book is retrospective. Dodo begins her story with Alfred's death. She's not attending the funeral. Since the separation--when he forced her out of his life and out of the lives of their children--she's not seen him or heard from him. Her life is lonely and sad. She clings to what once was. She holds on to the fact that at one time, he did love her, did need her, did want her. Despite what he's said recently. Despite how he's treated her.

The novel is the story of redemption--in a way--how Dodo is able to pick up the pieces--after his death--and reconnect with those she's lost contact with, especially her children. The conversations she has with her children--mainly all grown up now--are intriguing in a way. It is interesting to see how each one viewed their famous dad. How he was both loved and hated. How he was both charming and not-so-much. How his selfishness impacted them all. Yet how in spite of how he treated his family, how he could be a good man, a great man. Showing friendship and compassion to others--especially those down on their luck.

The book was an interesting read. I almost wish it didn't say that it was loosely based on Catherine Dickens. That had me guessing throughout the entire book how much was based on truth, on fact, (though the names are changed), and how much was pure fiction and speculation. How closely does Alfred resemble Charles? How closely does Dodo resemble Catherine? How much is really known about their courtship and marriage? It made me want to read more about the real Dickens.

Still, I have to admit it was a good read for me.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


knigi 10:40 AM  

hi ! cool, I have this book stands on a shelf at home

Kailana 2:14 PM  

I have this on my TBR pile. Looking forward to reading it soon!

The Book Club Guide 11:09 AM  

This sounds like an interesting book! Your review reminded me a little of my impression of American Wife. It almost would have been more enjoyable if I hadn't known it was based on the life of Laura Bush ... because then you're delving into research to find out exactly what's true!


DesLily 5:31 AM  

from what you wrote it really does sound like Catherine Dickens!..although in the biography it didn't sound like he really "loved her" wonders how he can have 10 children and not love the woman but it seems he was pretending at the life he didn't see in his parents more than love.
this does sound interesting though

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

Pageloads Counter

Search Book Blogs Search Engine

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP