ISBN #: 978-1250051936
Page Count: 272
Copyright: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
(Taken from Amazon)
Dorothy exists just above the poverty line, doing secretarial work at a dentist's office and living in a seedy boarding house in Bloomsbury, when she is invited to spend the weekend with a childhood friend. Jane recently married a writer, who is hovering on the brink of fame. His name is H.G. Wells, or Bertie, as he is known to friends.
Bertie appears unremarkable at first. But then Dorothy notices his grey-blue eyes taking her in, openly signalling approval. He tells her he and Jane have an agreement which allows them the freedom to take lovers, although Dorothy is not convinced her friend is happy with this arrangement.
Reluctant to betray Jane, yet unable to draw back, Dorothy free-falls into an affair with Bertie. Then a new boarder arrives at the house - striking, unconventional Veronica Leslie-Jones, determined to live life on her own terms - and Dorothy finds herself caught between Veronica and Bertie. Amidst the personal dramas and wreckage of the militant suffragette movement, Dorothy finds her voice as a writer.
Dorothy actually comes from an affluent family, but her father lost their fortune and left them destitute. When Dorothy, or Dora as she's known to her friends, becomes old enough she leaves Sussex for London where she finds work as a dental secretary making barely enough money to survive. An invitation to visit her old school friend, Jane, comes at a time when Dorothy has recently broken up with Benjamin, a Jewish man desperately wanting Dorothy to marry him. A visit to a friend away from London is what Dorothy needs to be able to get away and think over her life and the direction she needs to take. What she didn't expect to find was a man who ignited a passion in her.
Bertie, or Herbert G. Wells, is the husband of Jane, Dorothy's school friend. Yes, the same H.G. Wells that penned THE TIME MACHINE. In this novel he's portrayed as a philanderer with sexual appetites that he cannot control. He's always in search of "the perfect mate," which he thought he found with Jane. Unfortunately, Jane's apparently a little frigid in the bedroom, if you know what I mean. So Jane and Bertie have an open relationship; although Jane has an issue with Bertie taking up with Dorothy ... and rightfully so. And, even though Dorothy feels guilty for having an affair with Jane's husband, that doesn't stop her from visiting them nearly every weekend. The hussy.
Dorothy Richardson was an actual person and author. This novel is a fictional portrayal of a part of her life, which I didn't really find that interesting. The writing was done well but wasn't exceptional. Events flowed effortlessly one into another but I wasn't enraptured. So, overall, while this novel was a quick read I could have done without it. I like to miss the characters when they're gone. With THE LODGER, I wasn't at all sad to see them go.
*A hardcopy of this novel was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.