Ellie M's Reviews > The Bolter: Idina Sackville - The Woman Who Scandalised 1920s Society And Became White Mischief's Infamous Seductress

The Bolter by Frances Osborne
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's review
Dec 01, 2011

really liked it
Recommended for: history buffs; 1920s fans; chick lit with substance fans; biography fans
Read from December 03 to 09, 2011

I really liked this book. My mum recommended I read it, I dismissed the idea but then got hooked on all things "between the wars" and read some reviews, remembered she had the book so started to read.

What a woman Idina was. Scandalising British upper class society with 5 marriages, she certainly led an "interesting" lifestyle. I can't imagine what her parties were like. Descriptions of them being cocaine and morphine induced, guests being greeted by a naked host and bathing in champagne are far beyond my sphere. It was the days of excess - well for those with land and privilege.

After Idina's first marriage and having had two children she disappears off to Kenya with new husband in tow. Sadly her two sons aren't allowed to join her and she doesn't see or contact them for another 15 years. Kenya is possibly the main focus of the story. To be honest I knew next to nothing about The Happy Valley set (I was more familiar with life in the Raj and Indian subcontinent where similarly the English upper class led a life of interesting times, in a similar time frame). It was quite illuminating to understand another aspect of British history. I also knew nothing of The White Mischief storyline and that fact that Joss was one of Idina's husbands. I will be reading The Temptress which describes in more detail some of the characters surrounding Joss and his murder. As the story progressed there were a number of sad incidents, not including her own demise. Quite tragic really.

Overall I suppose I like Idina. I think she had "balls" to break with convention. She might not have been party to women getting the vote, and I don't especially agree with her leaving her children as she did, but the "not giving a damn" attitude is kind of interesting.


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Reading Progress

12/03/2011 page 30
12/06/2013 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em I enjoyed this book - quite revealing about the lifestyle of this particular set within society!

Ellie M My mum read it and recommended it and I ignored it. Then I became a bit obsessed with all things between the wars and remembered mum had this. Am glad I decided to read it. As you say very revealing. The cocaine and morphine parties, and bathing in champagne and greeting your guests nude - my typical evening entertainment! lol!

I thinking of reading The Temptress next which documents the story of the woman who in the end murdered Indina's 3rd husband. Meant to be another fascinating read.

message 3: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em Ha! Well, Christmas should be eventful in your house then! I'll keep an eye out for The Temptress, it sounds right up my street.

Ellie M The Temptress doesn't get as good reviews (on Amazon where I first saw it) as The Bolter but, if like me, you like the scandal then it's possible to overlook the negative criticisms.

message 5: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em Perhaps one to get from the library?

Ellie M Yes quite possibly - if of course it's available.Though I don't mind 2nd hand / used so I'm happy to look for those as well.

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