Over the years I have read a number of her books, but not all of them. I dimly remember being mildly disappointed by one, a decade or so ago. (Almost certainly this was more about me than the quality of the novel. Sometimes a book disappoints at a particular moment for no reason other than it not being the right choice at the time.)
But this summer I picked up the remarkable Counting the Stars which is all about the Roman poet Catullus. I happened upon it in a charity shop; and the sheer pleasure of reading it reminded me what I was missing by allowing her work to fall off my radar. I quickly followed it with Mourning Ruby and Exposure.
The last of the three was probably my favourite. Helen Dunmore wrote with such skill, such panache that her work leaves the reader breathless (and the author green with jealousy). At one level, her novels have a silky smooth surface, they are so readable. Yet it would be wrong to think that there is anything superficial going on. Scratch the surface and you find a tightly wrought plot, immaculate historical research, and complex characters who linger long after you've reached the end of the story.
RIP Helen Dunmore. You will be much missed by your legions of admirers.