I’m delighted to welcome you today to my stop on the blog tour for utterly mesmerising historical novel The Diver and the Lover by Jeremy Vine. Thank you to Jenny Platt for the invitation and to Hodder & Stoughton for giving me the opportunity to read and review this wonderful book.
About the book:
The Diver and The Lover is a compelling story of love, art, politics and sacrifice that explores the lengths we will go to for who – or what – we love. Written by broadcaster Jeremy Vine, the novel is set against the backdrop of post-civil war Catalonia and based on real events surrounding one of Salvador Dali’s most famous paintings.
It is 1951 and sisters Ginny and Meredith have travelled from England to Spain in order to help Meredith recover from a terrible trauma. They discover that the renowned artist Salvador Dali is staying in nearby Port Lligat. Meredith is fascinated by modern art, a legacy of her troubled past, and longs to meet the famous surrealist.
Dali is embarking on an ambitious new work, but his model has refused to pose. A replacement is found and the lives of the characters become entangled as art, ego, loyalty and the heightened politics of Franco’s Spain threaten to undo the fragile bonds that have been forged.
Jeremy Vine said:
“This story comes out of my love for — okay, obsession with — a single painting that hangs in the Kelvingrove Gallery in Glasgow. Salvador Dali’s masterwork was posed by a world famous stuntman whom he hung from a gantry in his studio. I am overjoyed to be part of the wonderful Coronet stable with this piece of fiction which is based on a real painting and a real story that mean so much to me.”
About the author:
Jeremy Vine is one of the UK’s leading broadcasters. He currently
presents The Jeremy Vine Show on Radio 2. In 2018 he took over Channel
5’s The Wright Stuff, now called Jeremy Vine. Jeremy is also an accomplished journalist and writer, with two non-fiction books published in recent years.
Coronet will publish The Diver and The Lover in hardback, ebook and
audiobook in September 2020.
The Diver and the Lover by TV broadcaster and Strictly Come Dancing star (who could ever forget his time on Strictly?!) Jeremy Vine, is the utterly mesmerising fictional story of sisters Ginny and Meredith, inspired by the real life events surrounding one of Salvador Dali’s most famous paintings, Christ of St. John of the Cross. A compelling story of love, obsession, art, politics and sacrifice, this is a book that captivated me from the very first page and didn’t let go until the final page had been turned.
Sisters Ginny and Meredith are on holiday in Spain to help Meredith recover from her traumatic past. Whilst there, much to the delight of Meredith who has a fascination for art, they discover that renowned artist Salvador Dali is staying in nearby Port Lligat. After a chance meeting with a young diver, the sisters lives become inextricably entangled with that of the artist and his painting.
Set in 1950’s Spain, the fictional story of sisters Ginny and Meredith is seamlessly intertwined with the real lives of infamous artist Salvador Dali and the stuntman who in reality posed for the controversial painting by hanging from a gantry in his art studio. In The Diver and the Lover, the author takes the story in a very different direction by exploring what could have happened if famous Hollywood stuntman Russell Saunders had refused to pose, resulting in Dali needing to find a replacement model.
I have to admit I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this book, but I soon found myself totally immersed in the fictional world of sisters Ginny and Meredith. Jeremy Vine breathed life into these characters, making me care about what happened to them as I inhaled every word of their story. I willed Meredith, so fragile and damaged by her early life, to find the peace of mind she so desperately craved in a world where mental health issues were even more misunderstood than they are today. And I yearned for the young and inexperienced Ginny, so consumed by the responsibility she felt for her sister, to grab hold of life and love with both hands.
The historical aspect of the novel has been extremely well researched, with the passion the author feels for Dali’s work coming through with every word. I knew very little about Salvador Dali or indeed Russell Saunders, the actual model who posed for the painting, but The Diver and the Lover has most definitely whet my appetite to find out more. I even found myself googling the real life faces behind the names so I could picture them in my head as I read. And picture them I did, as these larger than life people were brought so vividly back to life by the simple but powerful writing that held me in its thrall throughout.
Jeremy Vine has written a beautiful and mesmerising story that really did take me by surprise. The Diver and the Lover is a tale rich in history and full of heart, with memorable characters I couldn’t help but fall in love with. It is a gorgeously written book that has a real sense of time and place, instantly transporting me to 1950’s Catalonia and the crazy and sometimes shocking world of Salvador Dali. Filled to the brim with passion and suspense, there is a beauty held within its pages that moved me to tears, with Meredith in particular taking a hold of my heart.
A highly entertaining and captivating read that I would highly recommend.
The Diver and the Lover by Jeremy Vine is available to purchase now: Amazon UK
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