Larry's Reviews > A Book of Secrets: Illegitimate Daughters, Absent Fathers

A Book of Secrets by Michael Holroyd
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's review
Oct 11, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: kindle
Recommended for: bloomsbury followers
Read from October 11 to 24, 2011 — I own a copy , read count: 1

When I started A Book of Secrets... I didn't know where it was headed. It talked about a model for Rodin I had never heard of (Eve Fairfax), her history, who she didn't marry, who she knew (which was just about everyone), what she knew, and the whole host of the liaisons of the late 19th century through the 1950's. Alice Keppel (mistress to the Prince of Wales and other notables), mother of Violet Trefusis (the lover of Vita Sackville-West),appearances by Lytton Strachey (author of Eminent Victorians, Virginia Woolf, Harold Nicolson (husband of Vita Sackville-West), Winston Churchill, and the biographer himself who is far from a disinterested observer, ferreting out who slept with whom, how often, when, and what the author thought about these relationships.

Will everyone like this book? Certainly not! For one thing, if you have never heard of the key characters (Vita and Violet, and Virginia Woolf) who made up the Bloomsbury Set you may not care about their love lives and intrigues (or you may see this book as a springboard to learn about a fascinating time in the social history of England in the 19th and 20th centuries). If you know of them, or have visited Sissinghurst, Vita and Harold's restored ruined castle and gardens (and not visited in the book) Michael Holyroyd's vast collection of intersecting biographies (including his own) is a Must Read.
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