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Tales of the Country by Brian Viner Alan 10.

Dickens by Peter Ackroyd Paperback: 624 pages Publisher: Vintage; Abridged edition ISBN-10: 0099437090 ISBN-13: 978-0099437093


Spilling the Beans (Paperback) by Clarissa Dickson-Wright (Author) Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (4 Sep 2008) ISBN-10: 0340933895 ISBN-13: 978-0340933893.

Fern: My Story (Hardcover) by Fern Britton (Author) Publisher: Michael Joseph (6 Nov 2008) ISBN-10: 0718154614 ISBN-13: 978-0718154615.

'The Viceroy's Daughters' by Anne de Courcy published by Phoenix ISBN 0 75381 255 X

(Both) 8 This biography really races along. The expression, "couldn't put it down", comes to mind. We have both found it really gripping and possibly for different reasons! Along with 'The Other Boleyn Girl' by Philippa Gregory this has changed my view of characters from history. From the evidence in this biography I found Edward Windsor a pathetic and worthless character and Tom (Oswald) Moseley one of the most loathsome people I have come across in anyone's writing. The Curzon family, and indeed many of the people they mixed with, seem unbelievably selfish and hypocritical in applying one set of morals to their own behaviour and another to those they regarded as their inferiors.

A fascinating aspect of the book was the use of or indeed the existence of letters and diaries. I think they are most important and wonder what the modern equivalent is. The opening paragraph of the 'Notes' section begins thus: "Most of the material on which this book is based is taken from the diaries and private letters of the Curzon sisters and interviews with those who knew them. Irene Ravensdale not only kept a Hunting Journal but a comprehensive daily diary, vividly describing her feelings and emotions and the behaviour of those nearest to her, written up every night however late the hour."

'A Scandalous Life: A Biography of Jane Digby' by Mary S. Lovell Paperback: 384 pages Publisher: Fourth Estate (18 Jun 1998) ISBN: 1857024699

Alan 8. There are some interesting reviews of this book on Amazon. For me it varied between being exciting when the action was lively and being drab when it wasn't. Perhaps her life was like that. Again, as mentioned elsewhere, this was fascinating because of its dependence upon diaries.

'Wild Olives: Life in Majorca with Robert Graves' by William Graves Paperback: 272 pages Publisher: Pimlico (2 Aug 2001) ISBN: 0712601163

Alan 7. I enjoyed this as an account of an 'ordinary life'. However, I found the references to Robert disappointing. As a late teenager I immersed myself in Robert's poetry, 'The White Goddess' and 'Goodbye To All That'. I am of the opinion now that he was not the high priest I made him out to be.