Goodnight, Vivienne, Goodnight (The Eliot Quartet #4) by Steven Carroll

Published: 2022 Harper Collins Historical fiction

This is an imagined story about Vivienne Haigh-Wood, first wife of the poet, TS Eliot. In the1940s, she was committed to an insane asylum, and she died there in 1947. In this imagined story, she escapes with the help of friends, and is pursued by the police.

“Sometimes we make of people what we want of them…”

“The novel is an enjoyable read – easy, and for all the serious thematics it explores, fun.” (Arts Hub ), and the secondary narrative (the policeman’s burgeoning romance) is contrasted with the novel’s darker themes. Vivienne’s character is fully explored, and the ending is satisfying. “Fiction lovers and Eliot fans alike will feel “the tug of the tale” (The Conversation).


“The telephone always wins. There are certain facts of life: day will always follow night and so on, and as long as there is someone in the room, a telephone will always be answered.”

“For someday, if she’s ever remembered at all, somebody may well write her story: Vivienne, the mad wife of the great poet. Or perhaps poor Vivienne, driven mad and left for dead.Or Vivienne, the long-forgotten, unacknowledged force behind the great man, retrieved from obscurity.”

Author: Steven Carroll

Image Sources: The first report of the Lunacy Law Reform Association. [Public Domain]; Vivienne Haigh-Wood Wikimedia [Public Domain]

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