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Thrumpton Hall: A Memoir of Life in My Father's House

3.12  ·  Rating Details ·  190 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
"Dear Thrumpton, how I miss you tonight," wrote twenty-one-year-old George Seymour in 1944. But the object of his affection was not a young woman but a house--ownership of which was then a distant dream. But he did eventually acquire Thrumpton, a beautiful country house in Nottinghamshire, and it was in this idyllic home that Miranda Seymour was raised. Her upbringing was ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published February 5th 2007)
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Aug 22, 2008 Racquel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Having read some good reviews, I was disappointed by this book. I think the majority of people probably carry around a suitcase filled with carefully-preserved childhood grievances which are periodically unfolded and held up for review, but they aren’t the stuff of great reading for the rest of us. The result of this author’s catharsis is neither interesting nor enlightening; her self-indulgence made all the more uncomfortable by the obvious distress of a mother who has attempted to maintain som ...more
Aug 30, 2008 Steven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This moving book is unlike anything I've ever read.

The author writes of her family's English manor home and it's presence in the life her family. The focus is on her father's obsessive love of the house and how this devotion effects his relationship with his family.

I found the early parts of the book, which describe her parents' aristocratic families and their bizarre interactions fascinating, but I was also taken later when the attention narrowed to her immediate family. Often, when books shift
May 12, 2011 Cheryl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-edition
I didn't dislike this, I just didn't like it much. It seemed unfinished at the end. I don't know -- it started out pretty interesting and then about half way through either something happened to me or the story but I had a hard time getting through to the end.
Dec 09, 2008 Susan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This story about a man obsessed with a house is very sad. Written by his daughter who he treated terribly it's a sad commentary about someone who wasted his life devoted to an estate.
Jan 13, 2015 Kiara rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What a waste of time.
The author probably would have been in a better place if she had spent the time writing this book for some very much needed psychological counselling. The further I got into this book the further it lost its objectivity. Both towards the father and the writer. It seems to me that out of all the characters in the book it is the writer that is the closest to main antagonist, the father. The pointless bitterness and self righteousness of both the father and daughter, and their
Mar 25, 2015 MargCal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in English country houses
Recommended to MargCal by: A friend, resident of Thrumpton village
bookshelves: autobiography, biography, architecture, england, family-relationships, history, memoir, non-fiction

Finished reading: “In My Father's House: elegy for an obsessive love” by Miranda Seymour – 22.03.2015
ISBN 0743268679
ISBN13 9780743268677

Part history, part family saga, this book is about a man's obsessive love for Thrumpton Hall, an English country house near Nottingham. Miranda Seymour's father, George Seymour (rhymes with Lima!), spent much of his childhood at Thrumpton, the home of
Becky C.
While suffering from Downton Abbey withdrawl I came across this book amidst general searching about country homes. It's a fascinating story filled with interesting characters, not the least of which is the House (always refered to with an upper case H). Miranda's father, George, fell in love with Thrumpton when hs was a very young child and it dominated his life and thoughts to the very end. While not in the direct line to inherit the house he does, finally, inherit it only to discover the terri ...more
Feb 13, 2008 Rebecca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biogs
This was an intriguing book - not as the title suggests a book about obsessive romantic love, but rather a father's love for a house - to the detriment of his immediate family. He sounds a thoroughly self-obsessed pain in the neck, although his daughter who has written the book seems no better. Moral of story - don't be a posh repressed male owner of a big house, you will only end up an ageing biker in leathers with a dubious fondness for young men. I wish also that Miranda Seymour had bothered ...more
Kristie Helms
Oct 26, 2009 Kristie Helms rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the NYTimes Book Review: "George’s childhood was like something out of Kipling. He was awakened in the morning by the housemaid, Sarah Death, and the footman, Percy Crush, shined his shoes. His best friend was the butler, Shotbolt. Lonely and abandoned, mostly ignored by his aunt and uncle, the little boy performed a heroic act of transference: he fell in love with their house. As he got older he even wrote letters to it. “Dear Thrumpton, how I miss you tonight,” he wrote in 1944, when he w ...more
Joy Wilson
Memoirs are always interesting because they are the truth for a certain point of view (as they say in Star Wars). I chose this book because it sounded interesting although I knew nothing at all about the author or her ancestry. It is a hard story to read because you can tell the family is a train wreck. The love of house and lack of self-worth on the part of the father leads to increasing amounts of pain for his family. Although I realize that George Seymour cannot defend himself, he surely was ...more
Mar 22, 2009 Pat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kind of an odd book, but so was the author's father. This is the true story about a man in love with a house. Well, true escept that it is told from the daughter's perspective, even though she has input from his diaries and his wife. He was not a nice man, but his love affair with the house appears to have resulted from a fairly unhappy childhood and repressed homosexuality - both a common occurrence in the English generation of wannabee aristocrats before WWII. The love affair with the house ha ...more
Jun 08, 2013 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is all about a child, then an adult, who has spent her whole life seeking her father's approval and love. It may appear as if she has it from time to time, but his selfishness always wins. His ability to make her feel guilty or selfish for simply being herself is cruel and constricting. Her shouts of " FREE, FREE" after his funeral is completely understood by me. This isn't a book about a Manor house and its inhabitants; it is about a man who had desires, who was brave enough to fulfil ...more
Aug 28, 2014 Esther rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This cropped up in one of Nick Hornby's reading diaries and sounded interesting - Sawyer has written a memoir of her eccentric father, who acquires a country house through distant relations which is his obsession over his neglected wife/children and then in his sixties takes to riding motorbikes, leathers and hanging around young men. So I was pleased when I found a brand new hardback in a book sale. Well its a fabulous story, what a funny life but oh dear Miranda Sawyer is not much of a writer. ...more
George Seymour is in love with a estate where he was raised my his aunt and uncle named Thrumpton Hall. Thrumpton is always first and foremost in his mind, and he will protect it at all costs over the whims and comforts of his friends and family. George never really has a childhood, becomes a little adult and is frightened beyonsd belief when his parents go off to Bolivia in the early 1930's. Throughout his life George is fearful and cannot be alone. His Thrumpton obsession drives him to do some ...more
I almost want to criticize this book for false advertising, but that would not be fair -- I should have paid more attention to the subtitle than the picture on the cover.

On the surface, it seems to be about the last gasps of a great country house in Britain, but it is actually a slightly voyeuristic portrait of the author's peculiar father and his obsession with his family's house. I wanted to read about the rooms, the corridors, the decay, the grandeur, the physicality of this marvelous struct
Interesting and also a relatively quick read that gives a look into a mostly lost way of life in the UK--that of the country squire and his great house. But here were aspects of the memoir that left this middle-class American reader at a loss: How exactly does her father make money once he no longer has a job? To make money off investments, one needs to start with something to invest! An offhand mention of Lloyd's and asbestos is a major plot point that smacks of "it's common knowledge" but had ...more
Nov 18, 2008 Aimee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A house -- or really a manor -- is the main character of this nonfiction book. It's not quite a memoir because Seymour focuses on the impact this grand English country estate has had on her mother, father and herself (her brother is more or less absent from the book.) It's the tale of an ever-needy mansion (new roof, new heating system), a cash-poor family that inherited this house, the snobbery of the English upper-classes in the second half of the 20th century, an unhappy marriage, a closeted ...more
Mar 03, 2009 Betsy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
okay, I cheated and skipped several chapters in this odd memoir's midsection so I could find out just what weirdness this author's father was afflicted with. I was weary of all the beating around the bush. It's not really much of a spoiler to reveal his affliction but those who may read this book may want to stop here. For the others, the authers priggish snob of a dad had a thing for young men (although it appeared to be fairly sexless.) 0dd guy, odd book, interesting to a point...
Sep 30, 2008 Erin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ugh - so depressing. I didn't mind Seymour's writing, but I somehow envisioned it to be more of a story about an eccentric Englishman and his house -- not the tale of a painfully dysfuctional family. (Who needs to read that? Don't we all have our own?)

Regardless, I'm itching to pay this place a visit on my next trip to jolly old England... I'm intrigued.
Sylvia Tedesco
Jun 27, 2013 Sylvia Tedesco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This has been a fascinating read on many levels. The story of a complicated man and the struggle he fights for so many years to keep Thrumpton Hall in the family is one level; the story of his strangely convoluted personality is another. I couldn't stop reading it and immediately visited my friend down the street to loan her the book so we could talk about it together.
Aug 26, 2012 Jonathan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever been trapped by someone who is telling you all about their family and you have no interest whatsoever? Or, perhaps they are showing you photos, too??? ....and you feel doubly trapped?? Where's the "I hated this sucky book" star??
Mary Kay
Seymour's memoir of her father centers - by necessity - around Thrumpton Hall, her father's obsession. It took Miranda 10 years to gather research & to come to terms with her love/hate relationship with her dad. The book also says a lot about Seymour's mother.
Dec 02, 2012 Cindy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well, Seymour is a very accomplished writer and I always enjoy reading about lives that are totally new to me. However, I just couldn't get past the incredible disfunction of this sad, sad family. A bummer of a book.
Dorothy Giebel
A daughter writes about her Father and his love of the home he inherited. She feels the house fills his heart and there is no room for anyone. It is a sad account of a family, who want to be happy but the Father is cruel and selfish.
I need some new "shelves", as I have a hard time assigning stars to a book like this. If it were in its own category "memoirs about one's father's house", well, it'd be 4 or 5 stars. It took me about a month, but I read it and mostly, hmm, "enjoyed" is too strong of a word, appreciated it.
Apr 30, 2015 Ig-88 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ipsa distinctio laboriosam et impedit reprehenderit odio porro. Blanditiis commodi ducimus quasi sapiente. Voluptate sed harum. Recusandae officia laborum.
May 26, 2012 Linden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating account of an aristocratic family and the father's obsession with Thrumpton Hall, an English stately home, as well as his very eccentric lifestyle. Nonfiction.
Jan 01, 2009 Sull rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lovely but brave, sad book about a daughter in search of her elusive father who, although he lived with the family and helped to raise her, never revealed himself fully.

Jul 02, 2009 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are into memoirs, family dysfunction AND historic English country houses--this is a very good read.
Nov 11, 2008 Grillables rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I expected more from this than the self-indulgent whining and dysfunctional family mining I found. Boo.
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