The Girl From The Savoy by Hazel Gaynor
Published: 8th September 2016 (paperback)
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
Dolly Lane is a dreamer; a downtrodden maid who longs to dance on the London stage, but the outbreak of war takes everything from her: Teddy, the man she loves – and her hopes of a better life.
When she secures employment as a chambermaid at London’s grandest hotel, The Savoy, Dolly’s proximity to the dazzling guests makes her yearn for a life beyond the grey drudgery she was born into. Her fortunes take an unexpected turn when she responds to an unusual newspaper advert and finds herself thrust into the heady atmosphere of London’s glittering theatre scene and into the sphere of the celebrated actress, Loretta May, and her brother, Perry.
All three are searching for something, yet the aftermath of war has cast a dark shadow over them all. A brighter future is tantalisingly close – but can a girl like Dolly ever truly leave her past behind?
Today I'm thrilled to welcome Hazel Gaynor author of The Girl From The Savoy, A Memory of Violets and The Girl Who Came Home to my blog. Today she is sharing her top 5 literary heroines, so over to Hazel:
My top five literary heroines
I love writing strong female characters in my novels and often draw on real women from my own family for inspiration. Yorkshire women are made of strong stuff! Of course there are dozens of literary heroines I adore, but here are five I especially admire, and who have always stayed with me.
Jane Eyre – While it might be a cliché to choose Jane Eyre, I would happily argue her case! I first read Charlotte Bronte’s novel when I was sixteen, and instantly fell in love with it, and with Jane. For me, she is the perfect heroine. From the start of her story - an abusive childhood (the Red Room terrified me), the awful experience of school and the death of her dear friend Helen Burns - I longed for Jane to thrive and to find happiness. Far from being a helpless damsel in distress, Jane is a woman who knows her own mind and was a heroine way ahead of her time. I love this book, and I love Jane.
Elizabeth Bennet – Again, perhaps something of a cliché, but I can’t leave her out! I first read Pride & Prejudice for my English Literature A’ Level and found so much to admire in Lizzy as she grapples with the social inelegance of her mother and the fates of her sisters as they try to secure a husband. Elizabeth is clever and witty, sarcastic and playful. Her hate/love relationship with Darcy is literary brilliance.
Eliza Doolittle – An unlikely heroine, I loved Eliza from the moment I first read Pygmalion. She is sassy and witty, a dreamer and a pragmatist. Her desire to make a better life for herself is brilliantly captured by George Bernard’s Shaw writing, and her interactions with Professor Higgins make for some fabulous dialogue. Eliza has a huge heart and an iron will. She puts Higgins in his place again and again, and refuses to become the puppet he expects her to. Bravo, Eliza. Bravo!
Holly Golightly – The heroine of Truman Capote’s novella, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Holly (a country girl who changes her name from Lula Mae Barnes to fit better in New York society) is outspoken, impetuous and loves to shock. As her story is revealed through Fred, the narrator, we see a more vulnerable side to her. The novella is much darker than the movie which added plenty of Hollywood romance through Audrey Hepburn’s iconic portrayal of Holly.
Miss Havisham – Poor haunted Miss Havisham, the bride who never was. Great Expectations is my favourite Dickens novel and Miss Havisham one of my favourite tormented heroines. The mind games she plays with Estella and Pip are truly awful. I both fear and pity Miss Havisham in her tattered wedding dress which goes up in flames. She is a wonderfully disturbed character, and completely unforgettable.
Thank you so much Hazel and I agree Yorkshire women are made of strong stuff!