“There was something elusive about Nelly that drove Charles Dickens crazy,” Felicity Jones says about the secret mistress of the literary giant she portrays in “The Invisible Woman.” Dickens was 45 years old when they hooked up. Nelly Ternan was only 18, a “deeply, deeply shy” stage actress who resided secretly with Dickens for the last 13 years of his life.
“There isn’t a vast amount about Nelly that we know,” Jones explains. Dickens’ and Nelly’s love letters were burned. She kept details quiet later in life as she ultimately married a man who knew nothing of her connection to the literary lion. But we do know this “She was this incredibly vibrant woman, loved horse riding, very intellectual, politically engaged.”