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“Intoxicating . . . Burst[s] with the tremendous generosity of its author . . . From the first page A Book of Secrets casts the spell of a time long gone, of loves endured and lost, expectations dashed on the rocks of reality, of inner desires forever stilled, casting their shadows into history. It is written with the kind of elegance, ease and simplicity possible only from a master craftsman who has flown far beyond any learning curve and is relishing his free fall. [Holroyd] carries us as if on a magic carpet from one character to the next, and one time period to the next, with consummate grace. Holroyd is a kind of Fred Astaire on the page, his many steps becoming one grand, profound design . . . [H]is heart and humor bounce in vibrant rays off every hot-blooded, lovelorn, crazy, jealous and joyous woman—and what enlightened being would have any woman be otherwise?—in his book . . . A Book of Secrets is a book of magic, a sleight of hand by a master conjurer singing his swan song, sweetly, softly, with piercing wit and overwhelming compassion, his poetry in prose evoking a time past, with all its outrageous obsessions, its illegal passions, its melancholy perfume.” —Toni Bentley, The New York Times Book Review
“Michael Holroyd is that rare biographer who is read for himself as much as for the sake of his subject . . . It is hard to see how Mr. Holroyd could do better than this book.” —Carl Rollyson, The Wall Street Journal
“A Book of Secrets frequently casts a rosy comic glow . . . Mr. Holroyd is an impeccable writer and researcher, a man whose books are packed with intricate detail yet retain a buoyancy. They are aerodynamic; they run as silently as gliders . . . This book is a richly marbled meditation not only on the lives of several remarkable women but also on the art of biography itself . . . [Holroyd’s] new book contains many fine moments during which, holding on with white knuckles, you might hear yourself cry, ‘Brilliant!’” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times
“Master raconteur and biographer of Bernard Shaw and Lytton Strachey, the always elegant Holroyd is at the top of his game . . . Holroyd writes like an angel and memorably draws the rivulets of these fluid lives together.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A Book of Secrets is truly a book of revelations, of sudden, emotional jolts . . . The work of a master-biographer at the height of his powers . . . A beautifully structured narrative, punctuated by surprises and dazzling shifts in focus.” —Daisy Hay, The Daily Telegraph
“It’s a testament to Holroyd’s dexterity that this big, densely populated canvas never feels cluttered or confusing . . . As is always the case with Holroyd, the reader comes away equally inspired, equally curious, and lavishly entertained by a story-teller of the first rank.” —Lee Randall, The Scotsman
“Richly evocative and beautifully written . . . Holroyd’s skills as a researcher and detective are fully deployed, in miniature; and only a master could pull off such a book.” —Anne Chisholm, The Spectator
It is not as well documented as other bios by Holroyd; it is somehow repetitive, and it mixes his own views with actual facts. It loses interestPublished 18 months ago by Rose
This book lacks a path of reasoning for the reader to follow. Too many small intertwined biographies are packed into this book. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Jfancher
Michael Holroyd's books are always a 'good read' although this one starts very slowly. Biographical and associated mainly with the 20's 'Bloomsbury Set' it would probably only... Read morePublished on September 27, 2013 by Amazon Customer
An interest in peripheral but fascinating characters in recent British literary and social circles guided me to this book. Read morePublished on July 29, 2013 by Wabi Savvy
Worst book I have every read. Only reason I am struggling through iss because it was my book club selection....mine! They will never let me choose again! Read morePublished on November 25, 2012 by Nonna
I checked out this book from the library after I read a sterling review. As I recall, the reviewer had a few cautionary words about the rambling approach, but spoke well of the... Read morePublished on January 30, 2012 by A. S. Haropulos
Despite being on a few best books of the year lists and given some favorable reviews, I found this book terribly disjointed and an overall disappointment. Read morePublished on January 17, 2012 by Phillip O.