Girl in a Blue Dress
Alfred Gibson's funeral has taken place at Westminister Abbey, and his wife of twenty years, Dorothea, has not been invited. The Great Man favours his children and a clandestine mistress over his estranged wife. Dorothea revisits their early courtship before the birth of too many children snapped her vitality, and discovers the devious nature and hypnotic power of this celebrity author. Now she needs to face her grown up children, and worse, her nemesis of ten years, the charming Miss Ricketts. This is a re-telling of the lives of Charles and Catherine Dickens.
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2008 and the Orange Prize 2009.
Shortlisted for the McKitterick Prize 2008 and the Desmond Elliot Prize 2008.
Published August 2008 by Tindal Street Press; (Second edition published February 2011)
Sparkling with sympathy, style and wit, this collection is populated with characters looking for new life. The two desperately optimistic lovers of the title story head out on the road in the first days of release from a rehab clinic. A childless wife is drawn back into the orbit of her charismatic old flame when her best friend asks her for help. In a wartime café, a waitress takes a passionate interest in a bookish and haunted stranger.
Stretching effortlessly from Paris to inner-city Birmingham, from the present day to the 1940s, these stories explore the daily misunderstandings and self-deceits, the secrets and lies that seep into all our lives.
Gaynor Arnold brings the same empathy and social worker's insight to Lying Together that she previously shone on the marriage of Charles Dickens in Girl in a Blue Dress. Versatile and provocative, her new collection confirms the arrival of a natural storyteller with a rich understanding of the human heart.
Two of the stories in the above collection were originally published in 'Her Majesty' — a selection of women's writing (Tindal Street Press 2002) — and 'Going the Distance' an anthology of Birmingham-based writers (Tindal Street Press 2003)
Published February 2011 by Tindal Street Press
After Such Kindness
When the writer, Oxford scholar and photographer, John Jameson, visits the home of his vicar friend, Daniel Baxter, he is entranced by Baxter's youngest daughter, Daisy. Jameson charms her with his wit and childlike imagination, teasing her with riddles and inventing humorous stories as they enjoy afternoons alone by the river and in his rooms.
The shocking impact of this unusual friendship is only brought to light when, years later, Daisy, unsettled in her marriage, rediscovers her childhood diaries in an old toy chest. Will reading the secrets held in those gilt-edged pages help fill the gaps in her memory and explain why the touch of her kind, considerate husband fills her with such revulsion?
Inspired by the tender and troubling friendship between Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell, After Such Kindness demonstrates Gaynor Arnold's extraordinary 'capacity to imagine the truth behind the facts'. With the same assured feel for the Victorian period displayed in her prize-listed debut, Arnold brings to scintillating life an idiosyncratic genius and his timeless muse.
Published July 2012 by Tindal Street Press