The Dragonfly explores the relationship between a middle-aged Englishman, Colin, and his French granddaughter, Delphine, who are thrown together when her mother is killed.
A complicated and unhappy family history haunts this unlikely couple on their voyage on Colin’s small boat, the Dragonfly. The story unfolds along the beautiful rivers south of Paris, through dramatic landscapes, punctuated by exquisite medieval villages.
Delphine is nine years old and full of attitude and pain. At first she confounds her grandfather, who is used to a solitary, retired life and does not speak French, but gradually they come to trust each other, and he allows long-buried resentments and painful, complex emotions to surface as he rediscovers both the joys and burdens of parenting.
But there’s an even greater shadow over their journey: how did Delphine’s mother die? Her father, Colin’s son, is in prison awaiting trial for her murder.
The Dragonfly has been described by Ben Elton as, “…quirky and warm-hearted, with darker undertones that keep you gripped. Kate Dunn is a fine story teller,” and by Claire King, author of The Night Rainbow, as “a charming family drama set on the canals (and in the prisons!) of France.”
THE LINE BETWEEN US
Most people are familiar with the sinking of the Titanic in which 1517 people were drowned, and some have heard of the Lusitania which sank with the loss of 1192 souls, but until recently few people have known about the fate of the Lancastria, which was bombed by enemy fighters off the coast of Brittany with the loss of around four thousand men just as France capitulated to the Nazis. It was such a devastating blow to the Allied cause that Churchill felt the nation should be spared further bad news and forbade any reference to what had happened under the Official Secrets Act. Kate Dunn’s novel The Line Between Us draws on firsthand reports of this tragedy to craft a beautifully told love story overlaid with a gripping evocation of a major disaster that remains relatively unknown even to this day. Exploring the relationship between gardener Ifor Griffiths and Ella, young daughter of the family that owns the estate at Nanagalan where he works, the book examines issues of class and privilege that are still relevant now and it makes a compelling read.
Framed by Ifor’s account of the sinking of this mighty ship, events unfold in a series of flashbacks which follow his rite of passage from innocence to experience during the gilded period between the two wars. His memories of life at Nanagalan, his abiding passion for Ella and his determination to see her again are what keep him alive as he struggles for survival in the water.
Joanna Lumley, who in 2015 successfully campaigned for government recognition of the sinking of the Lancastria, hails The Line Between Us as, “A heart rending love story inspired by one of the unsung tragedies of the Second World War.”
For centuries generations of the Jenkins family have eked out a living from their Carmarthenshire hill farm, but when a fire destroys virtually all of their possessions the Jenkins children witness their lives crumbling around them. Too young to have learnt the way the world works yet old enough to be expected to fend for themselves, Mary and William find they have barely enough land left to provide for their basic needs. Their only option is to take on more work, and she accepts a position as companion to the elderly wife of a local solicitor with radical political ambitions and questionable morals. But William longs for action, and his sister begins to suspect that he has become embroiled with the Rebeccaites, a shadowy group of nationalists pitted against the English landowners whose tolls have bankrupted so many Welshman. As tensions mount, Mary becomes ever more torn between her mistrust of the rebels violence and her growing attraction to Jac Ty Isha, one of their leaders. And when the British government decides to put a stop to the revolt, the danger to the men she loves increases a hundredfold…
DO NOT ADJUST YOUR SET – THE EARLY DAYS OF LIVE TELEVISION
“Kate Dunn has compiled a valuable and necessary work of oral history in a scandalously under-researched field. She has mapped out a world of television that has been comprehensively lost. Live television maybe gone but this entertaining history ensures it won’t be forgotten.”
“As a celebration of British amateurism it is often hilarious…it reads like the script of a classic British farce.”
“…plenty of gripping anecdotes.’
The Sunday Times
EXIT THROUGH THE FIREPLACE – THE GREAT DAYS OF REP
“Members of ‘the profession’ are not the only itinerant workers to experience bizarre lodgings, decrepit and dangerous working conditions, peculiar colleagues and indifferent, if not hostile locals. But they certainly have all the best lines about them, and Kate Dunn’s account of that great British tradition never flags.”
The Sunday Times
“More nostalgia, but of a legitimate nature, can be found in Kate Dunn’s excellent Exit Through the Fireplace (John Murray, £18.99). Weaving a series of theatrical anecdotes into a coherent narrative is no easy task, but Dunn has managed to arrange stories from thesps as various as Peggy Mount and Tim Piggott-Smith, Timothy West and Daniel Massey, into an order that takes the reader through a sensible and highly enjoyable account of British repertory theatre, from an actor getting his first job to the death of rep. Along the way there are chapters on first nights, drying and the dangers of props. Experienced actors and theatrical ingenues will find this book equally delightful.”
The Independent on Sunday
“It’s a very informative account and should give you a pretty steady view of the hopes for the future of local theatre – if any….This is truly a complete picture of the repertory movement and of what we have lost….There are stories and reminiscences of all kinds here; indeed, the book is a sort of Dictionary of Theatrical Quotations…for anybody who cares about the theatre at all, it’s a must.”
Robert Hardy, The Mail on Sunday
“Kate Dunn’s Exit Through the Fireplace is an evocation of repertory’s glory days, which were also the apogee of the age of the anecdote, the effect is one of total immersion in the repertory experience.”
Maria Aitken The Daily Telegraph
ALWAYS AND ALWAYS – THE WARTIME LETTERS OF HUGH AND MARGARET WILLIAMS
“…a rare sort of privilege, private access to an inner reality, the spirit of Then speaking to Now”
The Daily Telegraph
“The most moving and evocative Second World War book I have ever encountered…”
Sheridan Morley, The Times
“The letters have been edited excellently by Kate Dunn”
Nigel Williams, The Mail on Sunday
“…a compelling record of news from different fronts told by two unusually articulate commentators, a poignant testament of the power of love”
Stuart Wavell, The Sunday Times
“Kate Dunn has edited this collection faultlessly. Generally unobtrusive, she is always on hand when needed to guide us.”
Charles Duff, The Spectator