Book Review: Girl In A Blue Dress: A Novel Inspired by the Life and Marriage of Charles Dickens by Gaynor Arnold

Link for the book @ Amazon:
Hardback $19.56
Paperback $10.20
Kindle $8.69

Link for the book @ publisher:
Paperback $15.00

Published by Three Rivers Press in 2008, 432 pages
Fiction, Victorian Era,

The author has taken the real life circumstances of Charles Dickens and his wife Catherine, and then fictionalized it in to different names, and also fictionalizing a few other details. In the book Girl In A Blue Dress the character Alfred is the persona of Charles Dickens, Dorothea or Dodo is Catherine his estranged wife.
In the Dickens family 10 children were born. In the Alfred and Dorothea Gibson family 8 children are born and lived. The book begins with Alfred's death. Kitty the eldest daughter of the Gibson children is married to Augustus a gambling louse. Kitty was close to her father and her father left his books to her after his death. Kitty has remained close to her mother. The other children have not kept a close relationship with their mother. After Alfred decided that he and Dodo would separate, Dodo moved to an apartment. At this time some of the children were grown, and some stayed in the home with their father. All throughout the book Dodo reflects back on when she met Alfred and their courtship, then marriage, and years of having children. She literally dissects their marriage, remembering Alfred's entanglements of inappropriate relationships with other women. She reflects on his neglect of Dodo and the children, because of his writing. Alfred is a profound writer, but a flibberty-jibbet as far as his depth of maturity of character. He tends to follow his emotions, his lust; but not his intelligence. Some might would say he was in love with love and then poof he is done. Even though Dodo was the wounded pushed aside wife, she does well in controlling any emotional outbursts. What stood out to me the most in this book is the long term consequences of the choice that Alfred made in pushing aside his wife for his temporary happiness. The affects on the children were painfully obvious by the choices they made in their lives.
I liked this book and enjoyed reading it. I felt the book was well written in that I became apart of the story, sympathizing with most of the characters. In the character Dodo (proper name Dorothea) I saw a real tangible woman. She was naive and inexperienced as a young woman, became involved against her parents advice with a man that she devotedly loved. It seemed the more she caressed him the more he pushed her away, as if he was embarrassed by her; ironically he was the one who had to have her! But Dodo in reflecting back on her life and the choices they made and experiences she had, she grew and she was a gracious person.
Alfred may have been the famous author; but it was Dodo that was the hero to me.

This book was purchased by me for reading/reviewing.

Blissful Reading!


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