- Format: Hardcover
- ISBN: 978-1-5261-6608-1
- Pages: 312
- Price: £20.00
- Published Date: April 2023
Charles Dickens called his sister-in-law Georgina Hogarth his 'best and truest friend'. Georgina saw Dickens as much more than a friend. They lived together for twenty-eight years, during which time their relationship constantly changed. The sister of his wife Catherine, the sharp and witty Georgina moved into the Dickens home aged fifteen. What began as a father-daughter relationship blossomed into a genuine rapport, but their easy relations were fractured when Dickens had a mid-life crisis and determined to rid himself of Catherine. Georgina's refusal to leave Dickens and his desire for her to remain in his household led to rumours of an affair and even illegitimate children. He left her the equivalent of almost £1 million and all his personal papers in his will. Georgina's commitment to Dickens was unwavering but it is far from clear what he did to deserve such loyalty. There were several occasions when he misused her in order to protect his public reputation.
Why did Georgina betray her once much-loved sister? Why did she fall out with her family and risk her reputation in order to stay with Dickens? And why did the Dickenses' daughter Katey say it was 'the greatest mistake ever' to invite a sister-in-law to live with a family?
'Essential for anyone interested in Charles Dickens's personal life. Christine Skelton's thoroughly researched and brilliantly written book fills in a missing piece of the jigsaw. It makes for enthralling reading.'
Jenny Hartley, author of Charles Dickens and the house of fallen women and Charles Dickens: A very short introduction
'Georgina Hogarth has been given a voice at last! Christine Skelton has done an admirable job of bringing 'aunty Georgy" out of the shadow of her celebrity brother-in-law. This is an engaging biography that takes the reader into the heart of one of Victorian Britain's most famous homes.'
Lucinda Hawksley, author, biographer, and great-great-great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens
'A major, and much-needed, contribution to our knowledge and understanding of both the private and the professional life of our greatest novelist.'
Professor Michael Slater, author of The Great Charles Dickens Scandal and Dickens and Women
1 The Hogarths and Dickens become in-laws
2 Friends and flirting (1836-42)
3 Dickens and his 'little Pet' (1842-7)
4 A 'lively young damsel' (1848-51)
5 Dickens's mid-life crisis (1852-7)
6 Loyalty and disloyalty (1857-8)
7 'Poor Miss Hogarth' (1858-63)
8 'His own decision will be the best' (1864-70)
9 'A hard, hard trial' (1870-1917)
Christine Skelton is Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Birmingham