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Mrs. Keppel and Her Daughter: A Biography Paperback – October 15, 1998
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From Library Journal
The story of Edward VII and his longtime mistress, Alice Keppel?summoned to his bedside by Queen Alexandra herself as the king lay dying?is well known; what is less familiar is that Keppel's daughter, Violet Trefusis, nourished a lifelong passion for author Vita Sackville-West. Lovers for a few tempestuous years, they eventually split?Vita to domesticity with her husband, children, and garden (and occasional flings with other women), Violet to a flamboyant Continental existence. Readers of Nigel Nicholson's Portrait of a Marriage, the biography of his parents, Vita and diplomat Harold Nicholson, will see a different side of this tale. Biographer Souhami (Greta and Cecil, HarperSanFrancisco, 1994) creates a good historical view based on original letters and papers; she brings to present-day readers an interesting aspect of Edwardian times?stable marriages that included lovers of both sexes. Royal-watchers of today might find it amusing to know that Alice Keppel's daughter Sonia (Violet's sister) was the grandmother of Camilla Parker-Bowles. For all readers.?Katharine Garstka, Intergraph Corp., Huntsville, Ala.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Of all the mistresses of Britain's Edward VII, both during his long tenure as Prince of Wales and his brief reign as king (1901^-10), the most renowned, most permanent, and most respected was Mrs. Alice Keppel. Mrs. Keppel (who, by the way, was the great-grandmother of Camilla Parker-Bowles, mistress of the present Prince of Wales) had two daughters. Violet, the elder, became somewhat famous herself as a personality and a writer. Souhami's riveting book is about what made Mrs. Keppel tick and the consequences of her celebrity and larger-than-life personality on Violet, growing up in her shadow. It was not easy for Violet, "for given a mother so endowed, luminous, desired and resplendent, it was difficult to feel as lovable, good-looking or successful." Violet tried to emulate--no, duplicateMrs. Keppel but always fell short. "[Violet] knew the moves and attitudes but her performance was caricature." A discerning dual biography and peek into Edwardian mores that popular history readers will certainly enjoy. Brad Hooper --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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History has a way of repeating itself as Bertie Prince of Wales (later in his middle age Edward VII) is the great great grandfather of Charles, the current Prince of Wales. And Mrs. Keppel's great granddaughter is Camilla Parker-Bowles, the second wife of Charles. They did it differently in those days - all discretion, no public airing of marital conflict!
One little technicality confuses me. The author (whose writing and scholarship are very impressive) refers to Charles as the great grandson of Bertie. No matter how many times I try to calculate it, I come up with the great great grandson - but I may well be wrong. It doesn't change the power of the story.
If you love this period of English history or English royalty in general, you don't want to miss this book.
Most recent customer reviews
This book is rather too long long, but quite intriguing and horrifying at times.Read more