A feminist retelling of George Eliot's Daniel Deronda from the point-of-view of its fiery and fabulous heroine
I was winning when I met your gaze . . .
So begins the confession of Gwendolen Harleth: dazzling beauty, wilful vivant and gambler of hearts: who bet her strength against her cruel husband, staked it all on the love of Daniel Deronda, and played her way back to a winning hand.
With the profound insight of her acclaimed biographies, Diana Souhami fashions a real life for this most mercurial and magnetic of literary heroines, plotting Gwendolen's course in step with the drama of the age as a pioneer of women's aspirations in our own.
When Eliot drops the thread, Souhami comes into her own. Liberated, Gwendolen joins a Victorian bohemia of authors, artists, reformers and sexual rebels. Eliot neglected to find a proper home for Gwendolen. Souhami, with sympathy, mischief and imagination, gives her one - Independent
A bold feat of imagination ... The result is intriguing and moving ... a powerful meditation upon the nature of creativity. Both an arresting interpretation of George Eliot's work and a compelling fiction in its own right, Gwendolen will be whispering in my ear next time I go back to Daniel Deronda, reminding me to look for the story behind the story - Rebecca Mead, author of The Road to Middlemarch
An act of breathtaking chutzpah: Gwendolen Harleth stands alongside Flaubert's Madame Bovary and Edith Wharton's Lily Bart as one of the most compelling characters in the history of the novel, and to assume creative responsibility for her is not for the faint-hearted ... It is intriguing, and it is brave - Guardian
Elegant . . . Captivating . . . Enchanting - Irish Times