Dwarf's Blood

3.67 based on 3 ratings & 1 reviews on Goodreads.com

A contemporary of Cecil Beaton, Siegfried Sassoon and Rex Whistler, Edith Olivier is best known for her first book, the novella, The Love Child but was the author of a variety of both fiction and non-fiction, as well as becoming the mayor of Wilton, Wiltshire, in 1939.

In Dwarf's Blood, Olivier has crafted a moral tale, reflecting the Victorian values of her upbringing while also incorporating a psychological study of her main character, Sir Nicholas Roxerby, who comes to England from Australia after inheriting the estate of Brokeyates from his great-uncle. Happy in his ancestral home, with the backing of his mother's millions behind him, Nicholas marries into the local gentry and lives a satisfying life until the birth of his second child. Hans is full of persuasive charm and gifted genius, but to Nicholas's horror carries the 'dwarf's blood' of the title, and he cannot find it within himself to accept a child that brings with him the reminder of a family skeleton he would rather forget.

In Nicholas's eyes, Hans suffers in comparison to his elder sister Portia, who is tall, healthy and beautiful, despite being completely insensitive, overbearing and unloveable; and for Althea, his wife, the cold-hearted rejection of her son by his father ruptures her happiness.

Though a vivid work of realism, Dwarf's Blood incorporates a touch of the eeriness found within Olivier's first work, The Love Child, and was described as a masterpiece among contemporary novels upon first publication in 1931.

A delicate tragedy of heredity and temperament.
Spectator

About Edith Olivier

Edith Olivier (1872-1948) was born in the Rectory at Wilton, Wiltshire, in the late 1870s. Her father was Rector there and later Canon of Salisbury. She came from an old Huguenot family which had been living in England for several generations, and was one of a family of ten children. She was educated at home until she won a scholarship to St Hugh's College, Oxford. Her first novel, The Love Child, was published in 1927 and there followed four works of fiction: As Far as Jane's Grandmother's (1928), The Triumphant Footman (1930), Dwarf's Blood (1930) and The Seraphim Room (1932). Her works of non-fiction were The Eccentric Life of Alexander Cruden (1934), Mary Magdalen (1934), Country Moods and Tenses (1941), Four Victorian Ladies of Wiltshire (1945), Night Thoughts of a Country Landlady (1945), her autobiography, Without Knowing Mr. Walkley (1938) and, posthumously published, Wiltshire (1951). " " " "Edith Olivier spent her life within twenty miles of her childhood home, and died in her beloved Wilton in 1948.

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Books by Edith Olivier

The Love Child
The Love Child
As Far as Jane's Grandmother's
As Far as Jane's Grandmother's
The Triumphant Footman
The Triumphant Footman
The Seraphim Room
The Seraphim Room
Wiltshire
Wiltshire
Country Moods and Tenses
Country Moods and Tenses
Without Knowing Mr Walkley
Without Knowing Mr Walkley
Night Thoughts of a Country Landlady
Night Thoughts of a Country Landlady