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Dances with Daffodils

Dances with Daffodils

Author(s): Matthew Connolly

Location(s): Grasmere, Ullswater

Genre(s): Fiction, Historical

Era(s): Early 1800s



It is spring 1802 in London and Luke Greenhead, prodigal son of a Grasmere shepherd, has squandered away half his life. In despair he returns to his Lakeland birthplace in search of home and family. By the shores of Ullswater he stumbles upon wild daffodils at the same time as William Wordsworth and his devoted sister and muse, Dorothy (whose description of the flowers in her journal went on to inspire I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, one of the greatest poems ever written). Luke is enchanted, not only by the daffodils but by the strange, birdlike woman in their midst. When he attempts to woo Dorothy away from her overbearing brother a battle of forbidden love and tangled loyalties ensues, into which the whole of Grasmere is drawn. Dances with the Daffodils is set against the turbulent background of the Napoleonic wars, the rigours of drystone-walling on the fells at the height of enclosure, and the heady nature worship of Early Romantic poetry. The novel embellishes the real history of the Wordsworths’ early years in Dove Cottage, drawing especially from Wordsworth’s poetry and Dorothy’s journals. Beyond being a vivid and entertaining sketch on a unique time and place in English history complete with the poets, thinkers and common folk who inhabited it, Dances with the Daffodils is a parable about the redemptive power of nature and remembered childhood.

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Lead Review

A deftly written historical novel, a lovely “visit” to the Lake District

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Enter the 2021TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition!

A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

Winning entry published on TripFiction site and publicised on Social Media

Entries close 6th November 2021