Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Great Lover-Jill Dawson

The Great Lover
Jill Dawson
Harper, Jun 1 2010, $13.99
ISBN: 9780061924361

Rupert Brooke arrives in Grantchester, England where he runs the gamut of relationships. He is attracted to a reticent schoolgirl, but flirts outrageously with any female he meets. A male friend seduces Rupert into his first sexual encounter.

In 1909 prim and proper housemaid Nell Golightly has watched Rupert’s carouse and thinks he is shameless. Since her parents died, she vowed to never fall in love as that hurts the survivor. However, Nell falls into swooning lust when she runs into Rupert as he goes for a skinny dip swim. They begin a tryst, but he turns increasingly morose as his myriad of affairs leave him without solace at a time he grieves the death of his brother and doubts his poetry writing skills. Instead of turning to Nell, he rejects her for a Tahitian.

Nell makes this deep biographical fiction of the Pre WW I era British poet Rupert Brooke come alive as she tells the tale of a talented young man who confused making love with being in love while ironically he sought love everywhere he went. Although he is The Great Lover, in Nell’s mind her Rupert also lacked confidence in sustaining and receiving love and his talent as a poet. Jill Dawson provides a powerful perceptive portrait of a man questing for love.

Harriet Klausner

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