Tuesday 1 December 2020

The Diver And The Lover by Jeremy Vine @theJeremyVine @CoronetBooks @HodderBooks #TheDiverAndTheLover #BookReview


It is 1951 and sisters Ginny and Meredith have travelled from England to Spain in search of distraction and respite. The two wars have wreaked loss and deprivation upon the family and the spectre of Meredith's troubled childhood continues to haunt them. Their journey to the rugged peninsula of Catalonia promises hope and renewal.

While there they discover the artist Salvador Dali is staying in nearby Port Lligat. Meredith is fascinated by modern art and longs to meet the famous surrealist.

Dali is embarking on an ambitious new work, but his headstrong male model has refused to pose. A replacement is found, a young American waiter with whom Ginny has struck up a tentative acquaintance.

The lives of the characters become entangled as family secrets, ego and the dangerous politics of Franco's Spain threaten to undo the fragile bonds that have been forged.

A powerful story of love, sacrifice and the lengths we will go to for who - or what - we love.

The Diver and The Lover by Jeremy Vine was published in hardback on 3 September 2020 by Coronet/Hodder. The paperback will be released in July 2021.

My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

This review was originally published in the Daily Express

The debut novel by TV and radio presenter Jeremy Vine was inspired by Salvador Dali’s painting Christ Of Saint John Of The Cross. 

The painting hangs in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and, in a prologue set in 2001, we learn from security guard John Maskell that something terrible has happened to it. 

He is devastated. The painting so dear to him that he knows every brushstroke by heart.

The reader is then transported to 1950s Spain where two sisters, Ginny and Meredith, have travelled from the UK to see if a warmer climate will help with Meredith’s slow recovery from a long and painful battle with mental illness. 

Her tragic history is sensitively detailed and her terrible treatment laid bare, making for heart-breaking reading. Her illness has also seen the sisters separated for many years.

However, throughout it all, Meredith retained her passion for modern art, something she

inherited from her late mother. So, when the women discover that Salvador Dali is staying nearby, Meredith is determined to meet him.

Dali is undertaking one of his most ambitious projects, using famous stuntman Russell Saunders as his model. 

However, since Saunders is refusing to obey Dali’s orders, a young American waiter takes his place. And when Meredith and the young waiter meet, both sisters’ lives will change forever.

Vine deftly blends themes of love, loss and politics, his story brought to life by a strong sense of time and place, attention to detail, and characters as colourful as the scenery. I was totally entranced by a tender, gripping, and powerfully moving read.

Jeremy Vine is a well-known British broadcaster who presents a daily show on BBC Radio 2 called The Jeremy Vine Show — and also a self-titled daily news and chat programme on Channel 5. 
This is why he likes strong coffee. 
He has been Sony Speech Broadcaster of the Year, and won Interview of the Year for the seminal moment when Gordon Brown put his head in his hands during the 2010 election campaign. 
Jeremy also does the BBC election graphics and rides a penny farthing, although not at the same time. 
'The Diver and The Lover' is his first serious novel. 
It came out of a chance encounter with a painting. 
Born in 1965, he of course loves the music of Joy Division, The Cure and Elvis Costello. 
He is married to Rachel and they have two teenage daughters.

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