Review of The Lodger by Louisa Treger

TheLodger1The Lodger
By: Louisa Treger
Release Date: October 14th 2014
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
The first biographical novel about Dorothy Richardson, peer of Virginia Woolf, lover of H.G. Wells, and central figure in the emergence of modernist fiction

Dorothy exists just above the poverty line, doing secretarial work at a dentist’s surgery 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.

Not wanting 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.

My Thoughts:
I’d never heard of Dorothy Richardson prior to reading this book but knowing it was historical in nature and featured H.G. Wells I was intrigued. I found Treger’s writing to be easy to read, gripping for the most part and emotionally charged. I was able to relate and connect to Dorothy though I wasn’t fond of her choices. H.G. Wells was an intriguing character and his relationship with Dorothy was frustrating yet understandable.

The setting was clearly described and I was easily able to picture the Wells’ home as well as Dorothy’s London home. I found the details about the suffragette movement to be a wonderful addition and incredibly interesting. I recently read Cat Winters’ The Cure for Dreaming so I have been interested in seeing this time period represented.

I felt that The Lodger really succeeded in expressing the disappointment of gaining what you’ve wanted within a relationship. Bertie and Dorothy seemed to have dreams of what the other would provide emotionally and physically for one another. I loved that it didn’t read like a fairy tale. Because they were cheating on a woman they both respected (though not enough) it had an aura of heartbreak and guilt that seemed realistic. I liked that it didn’t gloss over the harm their relationship caused.

I also really liked seeing some of the methods Wells used for his writing described as well as the life of a writer. I thought the stress and weight of having others rely and expect a certain level of quality from you was executed very clearly. Wells (Bertie) was not someone I knew a lot about so I honestly couldn’t say how Treger’s representation of him stood up to his real persona or the historical accuracy of his life.

Overall, I felt that The Lodger was well done though I did think that the story sort of lagged in the end and veered off the pacing that had been set in the first half of the novel. Don’t go into this one expecting much action though I found the writing style helped keep me invested in slower sections.

Final Thoughts:
The Lodger was an interesting historical novel that shed light on H.G. Wells and Dorothy Richardson. Though I enjoyed reading Dorothy’s story I don’t think I’ll be reading her work or going further into researching her life. I felt that Treger succeeded in clearly representing the time period and the rocky relationship between Wells and Dorothy.

Stacking the Shelves

It’s OCTOBER!! I love the fall season…all the warm colors, cooler weather and pumpkin everything. I decorated some and generally started to try to get into the festive mood. The temperatures around here have lowered a bit but I’m eager for some chillier temps.


Since I took off a week from blogging this will be for what I’ve gotten in the last two weeks so it’s a bit more than normal. I’m very excited about them all. And look at that The Kiss of Deception map.

Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews is a weekly meme where you show what books you’ve purchased, gotten from the library, received from giveaway, as gifts or for review.

For Review:

 DreamALittleDream

GhostsofHeaven

 BlackIceTheFall

 TheLodger

Yay to getting Macmillan ARCs. Now if The Winner’s Crime could show up… I love these Harper hardcovers and can’t wait to read The Fall. I started it and I can already tell it’s going to creep me out. I’ve heard mixed things about Black Ice but I’m eager to see for myself. I was asked if I’d like to review The Lodger and couldn’t turn it down. It’s an adult historical fiction and it looks wonderful. And that cover is lovely.

Gift (for being on the blog tour):

 TKoD

Once Mary Pearson shared pictures of this map I was wanting it oh so badly. I was THRILLED when I got one in the mail for being on the tour. Such a beauty!

 TheWhisperingSkull

I’m on the Thrills and Chills tour that The Midnight Garden is hosting so I was gifted this beautiful book. I had The Screaming Staircase already but hadn’t read it yet. This gave me the push I needed and I ended up loving it. One of my faves of the year for sure. I can’t wait to read TWS.

Purchased:

 Sanctum

I won Chaos on Goodreads so I had to catch up on the series. I’ve heard nothing but praise and already read Sanctum and really enjoyed it. I feel so lucky that I’m getting to read them all one after another. I don’t think I would have enjoyed the wait between novels.

Last Week’s Posts:

I didn’t post all that much last week since my blogging break went until October 1st. I’ve got to say, taking the little break was amazing for me. I feel a lot more motivated and I had time to read, catch up (some) on comments and draft a few posts.

What you might have missed prior to my blogging break:

How have you been these last two weeks? What new books have you added to your collection?