By Amy Dillwyn
Edited by Kirsti Bohata
Jill is the story of an unconventional heroine - a gentlewoman who disguises herself as a maid and runs away to London in search of adventure after her mother dies and her father is pursued by a Victorian gold-digger. Once in London she uses her position as lady’s maid to become close to her mistress. Her life above and below stairs is portrayed with irreverent wit in this fast-paced story, but at the centre of the novel is Jill's unfolding love for the woman she works for. On the surface a feminist manifesto, Jill is a poignant story of same-sex desire and unrequited love. A new introduction tells the autobiographical story on which the novel is based - the author's own passionate attachment to a woman she called her wife, but who she couldn't have.
“A somewhat daring, but very successful, experiment in realistic fiction” The Academy (1884)
Kirsti Bohata is Associate Professor at Swansea University and is a widely published critic of Welsh women's writing. She edited Bertha Thomas's Stranger within the Gates (Honno, 2008); her latest book is a co-edited volume of essays, Rediscovering Margiad Evans: Gender, Marginality and Illness (UWP, 2013). Her study of Amy Dillwyn's fiction will be published by University of Wales Press.
WELSH WOMEN’S CLASSICS
Jill is the twenty-second publication in the Welsh Women’s Classics series, originally the Honno Classics series, an imprint that brings out-of-print books in English by women writers from Wales to a new generation of readers.
"The novel can be regarded as one of [Amy Dillwyn's] most autobiographical, and as an early expression of lesbian love. This is a novel of humour and somewhat sardonic wit, of colourful characters without any Dickensian sentimentality. It is an adventure story, but it is also a story of how love and admiration for an inspirational person can be transformative."
Lucy Walter, www.gwales.com
"A complete and utter romp. Suspend your disbelief and jump in."
Lucy Victoria Brown,Secluded Charm
"Jill's experiences are told in a style of quiet power, and with a dry, almost grim, humour."
"Jill...is not a straightforward heroine. Dillwyn has managed to create a three-dimensional character that is both believable and has a very strong presence. She is tomboyish, strong-minded, extremely manipulative and willing to do almost anything to achieve what she wants."
Alex Ross, Reading Wales
"No tale of idealised femininity... Jill is a picaresque adventure story."
Kirsti Bohata, New Welsh Review
Categories: Fiction, Novels, Welsh Women's Classics
First Published by Honno: 19th September 2013