Tic in the Brain

Deborah Friedell

  • BuyGirl in a Blue Dress by Gaynor Arnold
    Tindall Street, 438 pp, £9.99, August 2008, ISBN 978 0 9556476 1 1

Too late, David Copperfield realises that he has married an imbecile: Dora is good-looking and affectionate, but she’s useless with a cookery book and incapable of managing servants. She calls her husband ‘Doady’ and begs him to accept that she can never be more to him than a ‘child-wife’. Worst of all, she will never be able to appreciate his genius. David prepares himself for a life of grief: ‘There can be no disparity in marriage like unsuitability of mind and purpose.’ He doesn’t suffer long. Dora develops a never specified illness, which allows her to die without any mess or fuss, and from her deathbed summons the girl David really loves and gives her blessing to the succession.

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