The Writers of Wales Database


Gaynor ArnoldGaynor Arnold was born and brought up in Cardiff. She read English at Oxford University and, during her student days, acted in many plays including at the Edinburgh Festival and in the USA. Her debut title Girl in a Blue Dress (Tindal Street Press, 2008) made the 2008 Man Booker and the Orange Prize Longlist. She has two grown up children and works for Birmingham’s Adoption and Fostering Service. Gaynor is a Member of Academi.

With respect to Girl in a Blue Dress (Tindal Street Press, 2008)

"…Arnold’s knowledge of Dickens is impeccable, and she uses fiction to give Mrs D what she never had - a chance to interview her husband’s mistress, and reclaim her beloved children. Beautifully written, entirely satisfying…"
The Times

"…A fine work of imagination and compassion that offers up other ways for us to understand a popular genius and those who loved him…"
The Telegraph

"...Fabulously indulgent Victoriana . . . a lovely, rich evocation of the period that rises above the faintly damning ‘historical fiction’ label with its complex characterisation and silky prose. It also seems apposite—a neat rendering of a celebrity marriage with all the pressure and expectation that courting fame invites. Wag hopefuls take note—anyone who belongs to the public can never really belong to you..."
The Observer

"...A fascinating portrait of a Victorian woman in the near-impossible position of maintaining a sense of self while married to a famous, difficult and wildly charismatic genius..."
The Metro

"...With his manic energy and flamboyant waistcoats, Gibson is a Dickensian character – and no wonder, for Arnold’s inspiration for her wholly absorbing novel lies in the complex married life of Charles Dickens and his wife, Catherine..."
The Daily Mail

"...Arnold’s portrayal of Gibson/Dickens is spot on – charismatic, theatrical, depressive; preoccupied with death and with childhood; endlessly courting celebrity and reputation..."
The Guardian

"...With Gaynor Arnold’s Girl in a Blue Dress the Birmingham indie house Tindal Street Press confirms its magic touch..."
Boyd Tonkin, The Independent

Selected Publications:
Girl in a Blue Dress (Tindal Street Press, 2008)
Lying Together (Tindal Street Press, 2011)
After Such Kindness (Tindal Street Press, 2012)


Girl in a Blue Dress (Tindal Street Press, 2008)

Girl in a Blue Dress by Gaynor ArnoldAlfred Gibson’s funeral has taken place at Westminster Abbey, and Dorothea, his wife of twenty years, has not been invited. The Great Man’s will favours his children and a clandestine mistress over his estranged wife. Dorothea is left only with the comforts of her feisty youngest daughter Kitty, whose attempts to demonise her father challenge Dorothea’s memories. When an invitation for a private audience with Queen Victoria arrives, she begins to examine her own life more closely.

Dorothea revisits their courtship, early days of nuptial pleasure and domestic family fun—before the birth of too many children sapped her vitality. But she also uncovers the frighteningly hypnotic power of this celebrity author. Now Dodo will need to face her grown-up children, and worse, her dual nemesis of ten years before, her redoubtable younger sister Sissy and the charming actress Miss Ricketts.

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