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The Rare and the Beautiful: How the Garman Sisters Captured the Heart of Bohemian London

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  85 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Like the better-known Mitfords, the Garman sisters took center stage in Bohemian London during the first half of the twentieth century. Beautiful, flamboyant, and headstrong, they broke away from middle-class conventions, seducing and inspiring a generation of artists. Kathleen, an enigmatic artist's model and aspiring pianist, was the lover and, later, wife of controversi ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by Harper Perennial (first published 2004)
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Mar 15, 2014 Penny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
The 7 Garman sisters might not have names that all begin with a K but certainly if they had been born 100 years later they'd have been all over the Celebrity Press. Strikingly beautiful and with a wild, unconventional streak, they mixed with all the artistic movers and shakers of the 1920's and 30's.

This book explores the lives of just 3 of them (Mary, Kathleen and Lorna), but in many ways each in their turn deserves a book to themselves so it often felt a bit rushed.

During a period when the
Biography of (mostly) Kathleen, Mary, and Lorna Garman, who were born around the turn of the century and ran around with artists and writers in England and France. Mary married poet Roy Campbell (but had affairs with other people including Vita Sackville-West); Kathleen was the lover of sculptor Jacob Epstein for 30 years and they had three children before his wife died and they married; and Lorna married a wealthy publisher when she was 16, and also had many lovers including poet Laurie Lee and ...more
Helen Smith
It's a very interesting book, but I do find myself wondering how anyone can have the time or the energy to sleep with so many people

And indeed, why anyone would marry someone who had had an affair with their aunt
Jul 04, 2013 Cynthia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Had never heard of this interesting family. So happy women now make their own light! London scene in the 1920s.
Oct 29, 2010 Franny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Compared to the Mitford sisters, the Garmans were really dull. Besides encountering famous people, those sisters (and brothers) did not contribute much to the world. Those siblings were no writers, not married to any Nazi follower or warriors, just persons happening to meet interesting people and leading amoral lives (mostly).
As for the quality of the book, except that sometimes it was somehow difficult to follow who the writer is talking about by using inadequately the pronouns, either the rese
Faith Hogan
Aug 13, 2016 Faith Hogan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: factual-history
I really enjoyed this, it transported me back to the days when Bloomsbury reigned, but the cooler girls were the Garmans (always watch the quiet ones!)
May 01, 2013 Lesley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, I can see that these were fascinating people who had significant impact on the artistic and literary etc circles in which they moved, but I found something vaguely unsatisfactory about this account (quite aside from a number of contextual detail errors). My takeaway impression is that taken as a group (which contemporaries seemed to do, it's just a bit icky the way some people just shifted their attentions from one sister to someone else within the kinship network) they were fascinating, bu ...more
Utterly fascinating lives.
Sep 08, 2010 Lynda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What worryingly fascinating people. Moving in the circles of politics and art, this family were an unashamedly debaucherous, yet unselfconscious bunch.
For anyone interested in finding out more about the Garman family, the "Garman Ryan Collection" at the Walsall Art Gallery has much of the art work on display and many gems hidden in the archives.
Lynda Kelly
Mar 29, 2013 Lynda Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was just telling someone about this book which I have and realised I'd not added it to my catalogue. It is fascinating and I bought it as one of the sisters was local to me where I used to live.
rachael gibson
Fascinating family and such beautiful women - if only there were more pictures available! Really interesting read but some shocking parenting...
Aug 07, 2008 Georgina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-nonfic
Very interesting biography, I came across it at the library and had never heard of the Garmans before but what fascinating lives they led!
Jun 11, 2012 Analee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
Fascinating look at the lives of six sisters, several of whom had connections to the Bloomsbury group in London.
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