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The Ugly One

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  24 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
The decline of much of the landed English gentry Into genteel feckless poverty is a story that has been often told In fiction and rather less often by the eyewitnesses. Hermione Ranfurly's childhood during the First World War, and her adolescence and young adulthood thereafter, are burdened by a mother whose highly strung nerves gradually give way and a father who can ...more
Unknown Binding, First edition, 202 pages
Published 1998 by Michael Joseph
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Jan 27, 2015 ^ rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those interested in war, families, and the upper end of British society in the early C20th.

“To War with Whittaker” by the late Hermione, Countess of Ranfurly, is a superb repeat read. “The Ugly One,” which is Hermione’s account of her child- and girl-hood (predominantly in West Glamorgan and Gloucestershire) goes a very long way towards shedding light on why “To War with Whittaker” is so very good.

Some may read and dismiss “The Ugly One,” (a relatively quick read at 21 lines per page, on a page size of just 110 x 183mm), as little more than a remarkable romp through a very upper/uppe
...more
Vanessa Couchman
Aug 14, 2014 Vanessa Couchman rated it liked it
Hermione Ranfurly was an extraordinary woman. Born into a privileged family in 1913 as the storm clouds gathered over Europe, she led an apparently idyllic childhood. However, all was not as it seemed. She was acutely conscious of being plain and compensated by making people laugh. Her apparently devoted parents were eventually torn apart by her father's extravagance and her mother's depression. Hermione effectively stepped into the breach for her siblings and worked in a series of menial jobs. ...more
Leah
Jul 25, 2016 Leah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I adored To War with Whitaker, so ordering this one was a no-brainer for me. But the format and the size of the type of this book made me suspect that it was aimed at children, and now that I've gotten around to reading it my suspicions are confirmed.

She writes humorously, but her style is curtailed here and she focuses heavily on things that children find interesting - animals, houses, toys, the odd behaviour of grownups and relatives - and glosses over all the things that adults do. She barely
...more
Ali
Aug 24, 2009 Ali rated it really liked it
Born in 1913 Hermione is brought up at a time of great change especially for people of her class. This charming memoir charts her family's change in fortunes as they move from place to place. The children (Owen, Hermione, Cynthia and Daphne) have a wonderful nannie, Nannie Kate, a menagerie of animals, and to begin with a life of wonderful freedoms and privilege. Through the child Hermione's eyes ( although written many years later when in her old age) and with great wit and honesty, we witness ...more
Hilary Hicklin
Feb 16, 2014 Hilary Hicklin rated it really liked it
Charming childhood memoirs (1913-39) of a wealthy family and its downfall. Atmosphere reminiscent of Nancy Mitford's "The Pursuit of Love". Interesting anti-fox-hunting view from a farming/country land-owning class member!
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Oct 25, 2013 Joss rated it really liked it
Interesting childhood biography by Lady Ranfurly - prequel to To War With Whitaker
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Meh.
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Hermione, Countess of Ranfurly, OBE, (née Llewellyn), was the British author of To War With Whitaker: The Wartime Diaries of the Countess of Ranfurly, 1939–1945. Published when Lady Ranfurly was in her eighties, these highly successful diaries were widely admired for their illustration of the writer's courage, pluck and humour.
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