Gail Godwin

Fiction by Gail Godwin

Old Lovegood Girls Old Lovegood Girls: A Novel

Published 2020

When the dean of Lovegood Junior College for Girls decides to pair Feron Hood with Merry Jellicoe as roommates in 1958, she has no way of knowing the far-reaching consequences of the match. Feron, who has narrowly escaped from a dark past, instantly takes to Merry and her composed personality. Surrounded by the traditions and four-story Doric columns of Lovegood, the girls—and their friendship—begin to thrive. But underneath their fierce friendship is a stronger, stranger bond, one comprised of secrets, rivalry, and influence—with neither of them able to predict that Merry is about to lose everything she grew up taking for granted, and that their time together will be cut short. Read more>>

Grief Cottage Grief Cottage: A Novel

Published 2017

Grief Cottage named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2017!

After his mother's death, eleven-year-old Marcus is sent to live on a small South Carolina island with his great aunt, a reclusive painter with a haunted past. Aunt Charlotte, otherwise a woman of few words, points out a ruined cottage, telling Marcus she had visited it regularly after she'd moved there thirty years ago because it matched the ruin of her own life. Eventually she was inspired to take up painting so she could capture its utter desolation. Read more>>

Flora Flora: A Novel

Published 2013

Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Gail Godwin's penetrating and haunting narrative about intimacy and loss and remorse, set against a background of world-changing events. Read more>>

Unfinished Desires Unfinished Desires: A Novel

Published 2009

Set in a small town in the mountains of North Carolina, Unfinished Desires is a complex and deeply affecting story of friendship, loyalty, redemption, and memory. Read more>>

Queen of the Underworld Queen of the Underworld: A Novel

Published 2006

Emma Gant is a young heroine who may become as familiar to readers as Isabel Archer or Becky Sharp. Just out of college, she takes the train to Miami to begin a job as a reporter at the Miami Star. Fiercely ambitious and confident, she imagines her first front page story about Castro’s Cuba, while quickly writing obituaries and dutifully tackling the small assignments sent her way. Read more>>

Evenings at Five Evenings at Five: A Novel

Published 2003

Every evening at five o' clock, Christina and Rudy began the ritual commonly known as Happy Hour, sharing drinks along with a love of language and music (she is an author, he a composer, after all) a delight in intense conversation, a fascination with popes, and nearly thirty years of life together. Now, seven months after Rudy's unexpected death, Christina reflects on their vibrant bond -- with all its quirks, habits, and unguarded moments -- as well as her passionate sorrow and her attempts to reposition herself and her new place in the very real world they shared. Read more>>

Evensong Evensong: A Novel

Published 1999

Margaret Gower Bonner, the narrator of Father Melancholy's Daughter, is now an Episcopal priest and rector of a small parish in High Balsam, North Carolina. She is married to Adrian Bonner, also a priest, whom some say is a replica of her melancholy father. During the first three weeks of Advent, 1999, Margaret's marriage, her parish, and her faith are tested by the arrival of two strangers, an old man claiming to be a monk, and a fervent woman evangelist with a God-dictated agenda to save the troubled community of High Balsam. Read more>>

Good HusbandThe Good Husband: A Novel

Published 1994

A portrait of a dying woman, a charismatic professor of visionary literature, and the people who gather at her bedside as well as an intimate study of two marriages. Wrote Penelope Mesic in The Chicago Tribune, ". . . the novel's greatest accomplishment lies in capturing the sheer work of dying." "This is Godwin's best book to date, a landmark achievement." Publisher's Weekly: starred and boxed review. Read more>>

Father Melancholy's Daughter Father Melancholy's Daughter: A Novel

Published 1991

The young narrator, Margaret Gower, daughter of an Episcopal priest, grapples with the legacy of her runaway mother, her father's cyclic depressions, and her own evolving spiritual life. Wrote Robert Wilson in USA Today, "I don't know more than a few contemporary novels as full of grace as Gail Godwin's new book, Father Melancholy's Daughter . . . Godwin has an almost Trollopian eye for the community that revolves around St. Cuthbert's, the parishioners with their quirks and foibles, the vestry with their expectations and demands. Read more>>

Southern FamilyA Southern Family: A Novel

Published 1987

A North Carolina family is baffled and heartbroken by the unresolved violent death of a son and brother. The story is told in multiple voices. Wrote Jonathan Yardley in The Washington Post, "A Southern Family is, if possible, an even richer and more rewarding book than A Mother and Two Daughters . . . it is old-fashioned fiction of the most serious and exemplary kind -- a book that creates a dense, populous world and draws the reader into it as surely as if it were his own . . . A Southern Family is an ambitious book that entirely fulfils its ambitions; not merely is it psychologically acute, it is dense with closely observed social and physical detail that in every instance is exactly right." [won the Janet Heidinger Kafka prize and the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Prize] Read more>>

Finishing SchoolThe Finishing School: A Novel

Published 1984

An actress looks back on her fourteenth summer, when she befriended a passionate, tragic woman who introduced her to heightened reality. Wrote Frances Taliaferro in The New York Times Book Review, "Miss Godwin has written a finely nuanced, compassionate psychological novel . . . The Finishing School is a wise contribution to the literature of growing up." Read more>>

Mother and Two DaughtersA Mother and Two Daughters: A Novel

Published 1982

The story is told from the three points of view of the two daughters (one an agitator and the other a conservative) and their newly widowed mother at a time filled with turbulence for each protagonist. Edmund Fuller in The Wall Street Journal wrote: "Confirms Miss Godwin as the maturely gifted artist she is. The wisest, most sensitively balanced novel that I have read about women in the enormous social transitions of our time." [Nominated for the 1982 National Book Award] Read more>>

Violet Clay Violet Clay: A Novel

Published 1978

In this, her first novel since her widely acclaimed The Odd Woman, Gail Godwin gives us the large and moving story of a gifted young woman who refuses to surrender her vision of her greatest self, and how, finally, she makes that vision come true. Read more>>

Odd WomanThe Odd Woman: A Novel

Published 1974

At 32, Jane Clifford has achieved the professional and economic independence that the Liberated Woman takes for granted. Yet as the novel begins, an increasing and ominous sense of her own "oddness" is starting to impinge upon her. Read more>>

Glass People Glass People: A Novel

Published 1972

This is a cautionary tale, a suspense story about a woman's spirit and the hazard-ridden leap she must make from being the object of someone else's shapely plot to becoming the subject of her own. Read more>>

PerfectionistsThe Perfectionists: A Novel

Published 1970

An eccentric English psychotherapist, his new young American wife, his three-year-old illegitimate son, who never speaks, and a young female patient take themselves off to Majorca for what they hope will be a healing vacation. But as it progresses, they find the sun, the sea, the idle hours relaxing their control over their interior derangements. Read more>>