A Book of Secrets: Illegitimate Daughters, Absent Fathers
A Publishers Weekly Best Nonfiction title for 2011
On a hill above the Italian village of Ravello sits the Villa Cimbrone, a place of fantasy and make-believe. The characters that move through Michael Holroyd’s new book are destined never to meet, yet the Villa Cimbrone unites them all.
A Book of Secrets is a treasure trove of hi
This is one of the worst books I've read in a long while. The main problem is that the biographical details of the subjects' lives aren't fleshed out through any sort of compelling narrative. Holroyd does not bring these figures to life, in spite of the fact that the ...more
The gushingly positive review from The New York Review of Books and other noted media are misleading. I wonder if the NYRB reviewer really read the book or simply skimmed it and wrote his review on the basis of Holroyd's previous, prize-winning biograp ...more
This book has no theme, the title bears no relationship to its topic, and what it really is, is fragments of biographical research the author collected that never came together.
On top of that, the people profiled here are wealthy nonentities (the wealth inherited), with unpleasant personalities, trivial or nonexistant accompl ...more
"With his oblique anecdotes about Salman Rushdie, and a footnoted reference to one of his wi ...more
I like ...more
Just getting to the section on Vita and Violet and that luscious scandal that has inspired so much terrific writing. Will write a proper review when I'm d ...more
For Eve Fairfax and the Villa Cimbrone, there must also be other books or other stories... Sadly, Holroyd's "Book of Secrets" doesn't really live up to its name, at least for anyone familiar with its subjects. It might be better read in stages, as a series of essays, rather than gobbled up in toto.