The Great Lover, Paperback Book
3.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)


In the summer of 1909, seventeen-year-old Nell Golightly is the new maid at the Orchard Tea Gardens in Cambridgeshire when Rupert Brooke moves in as a lodger.

Famed for his looks and flouting of convention, the young poet captures the hearts of men and women alike, yet his own seems to stay intact.

Even Nell, despite her good sense, begins to fall for him.

What is his secret?This captivating novel gives voice to Rupert Brooke himself in a tale of mutual fascination and inner turmoil, set at a time of great social unrest.

Revealing a man far more complex and radical than legend suggests, it powerfully conveys the allure - and curse - of charisma.


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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

Faction. The troubled character of Brooke is especially convincing during his breakdown. Irritating letters from the "future" open the story. Annoyingly named Nell(ie) Golightly as female bee-keeper's daughter protagonist - with all the metaphors to match. Looking forward to discussing with reading group. February 2010.

Review by

The Great Lover is a fictionalized account of the poet Rupert Brooke’s life from 1909-1914. Using his letters and poetry as a base, it interweaves narration by Brooke with that of Nell, a maid at the Orchard in Grantchester, where Brooke and some other well-known people of that era (including Virginia Woolf) went to stay. The Great Lover describes Brooke’s personal and artistic doubts and uses Nell as a character to react to those as well as some of the issues of the period, including women’s and workers’ rights. Brooke was interesting, if not necessarily likeable, and I loved Nell as a character. The best part of the book was its immersive quality; it gave you a real sense of both the physical and social atmospheres of the time. I wanted to love it, but I only liked it a lot, but it was still very good.

Review by

This was a Reading Group choice, so with an open mind I read the first 100 pages and decided that I couldn't continue.Not knowing anything about Rupert Brooke, other than his proffesion, his tortured mind about his sexuality, made uncomfortable reading. The rest of his entries were entertaining, when he teases Nell, but parts I really didn't understand.Nell's entries seemed much more straight forward, and I wanted to read her entries only, but that is not the way to finish.A shame reallly, because it could have been so much more. Not the book for me.

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