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The Viceroy's Daughters: The Lives Of The Curzon Sisters

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  698 ratings  ·  67 reviews
Irene (born 1896), Cynthia (b.1898) and Alexandria (b.1904) were the three daughters of Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India 1898-1905.The three sisters were at the very heart of the fast and glittering world of the Twenties and Thirties.

Irene had love affairs in the glamorous Melton Mowbray hunting set. Cynthia ('Cimmie') married Oswald Mosley, joining him first in the Labour P
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Hardcover, 421 pages
Published January 1st 2000 by George Weidenfeld & Nicholson
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3.88  · 
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 ·  698 ratings  ·  67 reviews


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Sarah
Feb 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Goodreads suggested that I might like this book based on my interest in the Mitfords and, as Irene, Cynthia and Alexandra Curzon, the Viceroy’s daughters, were brought up in England in great wealth and privilege, I expected a fluffy gossipy history full of house parties, swish balls and scandalous liaisons. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that in addition to parties and scandal (and there was certainly enough scandal to satisfy me, and then some), deCourcy gives us an intimate look of som ...more
David K. Lemons
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read “The Viceroy’s Daughters” in search of more information on Grace Hinds Duggan Curzon, George Curzon’s second wife and my fourth cousin on my father’s side. As previously written elsewhere, I began with “Reminiscences” by Grace herself, followed by “Curzon: Imperial Statesman”—by David Gilmour, then “Mary Curzon” by Nigel Nicolson, and now the book about George and Mary’s daughters, Irene, Cynthia (Cimmie), and Alexandra (Baba) by Anne de Courcy. How did they turn out and what effect did G ...more
The Library Lady
I'm surprised that no one has thought of turning this into a mini-series. Everything is there--the pre-war glamor,infidelities, celebrities and scandal, war time heroism.

DeCourcy paints vivid portraits of the 3 sisters, their flaws and their strengths. Truthfully, I found none of them that likable, but that is part of the skill of this telling--you see the women for whom they were.
Alma Bytyqi
Dec 30, 2011 rated it liked it
The book is very well written and researched, but... Those three sisters are totally pale personalities compared to the mitford sisters. The curzon sisters , what I get from the reading of this book, are plain amoral persons who have not contributed a bit in the world. They have not been to the spanish war, didn t contribute a bit in arts nor literature (though one of them wrote a book that even at the time it was publish not even close to have any success), nor helped advance women in society n ...more
Laurie
Oct 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A biography of the aristocratic Curzon sisters who were contemporaries of the Mitfords and ran in circles with Wallis Simpson. The shenanigans that these old-timey proper Brits got up to never fail to surprise me, no matter how much Evelyn Waugh, Nancy Mitford and others I read.
Fiona
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here is an extract from the precis on Goodreads. No point in me writing something. It was enough to get me hooked, as as with de Courcy's biog of Diana Moseley, I'm not disappointed thus far:

Cynthis (‘Cimmie’) married Sir Oswald Mosley,joining him first in the Labour Party,where she became a popular and successful MP before following him into fascism. Alexandra (‘Baba’), the youngest and most beautiful, married the Prince of Wales’s best friend, Fruity Metcalfe. Within a month of her death from
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Anne
Nov 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh boy, this is a tough one. Many names I am totally unfamiliar with, and though interesting, it is a tough read for an American. Maybe much of this is familiar to English people and residents of the UK? So, why am I reading it and why will I finish? I am very interested in WHY the titled, very rich, privleged, people of that time CHOSE and wanted to be Fascists, pro Hitler, and Communist, all while being friends with the MONARCHY? They were their own undoing! Thanks to these idiots, their histo ...more
Annie Garvey
Jun 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I cannot believe the morals of the generation between the wars. And what was the Oswald Mosley's hold on the sisters? What a mess, but you can't put it down.
Susan
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was snatched out of a discard bin. It appealed to me because of the Curzon name. (George Curzon was considered the best Viceroy of India during the late 1800's.) His three daughters were major players in the social sets of England during the 1920-1950 period. Cynthia Curzon, the middle sister, was married to Oswald Mosley, the Fascist party leader in England. Youngest sister Alexandra's husband was a great and close friend to the Duke of Windsor, who abdicated in the 1930's to marry th ...more
Camilla Tilly
Before I read this book, I read a really poorly written Swedish biography on the Mitford sisters. Diana Mitford it said, became mistress of fascist leader Mosley, and when his wife died, he also took his wife's younger sister as a mistress and had the other sister raise his children. It sounded too incredible to be true so I just HAD to find out who these women in Mosley's life were and decided on this book.

I bought it used and on the inside front someone had written "Hope this doesn't turn your
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Christina
Jan 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
This was a fascinating look at three women prominient in British society in the first half of the 20th century. The book was interesting on two levels: as a study of the sisters' relationships with each other, and as a review of their friendships and affairs with people in the larger circle of British society. Having just finished a book on the Mitford sisters, this was another look at Tom Mosley and his relationships with society women (Diana Guinness and the Curzon sisters).
Beverly
Jul 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Biography of the three daughters of Curzon, Viceroy of India. Intimate portrait of privileged society in UK - one daughter married Tom Moseley, and husband of another was close friend of Edward, Duke of Windsor. Their lives are played out at a period which saw the rise of fascism, the abdication of the King and the Second World War. A little heavy in social and political content at times but, overall, a fascinating read and excellent writing style.
Mary
Apr 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Curzon's were another interesting prominent family of the 1920's and 1930's in particular. Made even more interesting by their links with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (as they became) and Oswald Mosley.
Rebecca
I liked it - but the last part, post-second world war, felt a bit rushed.
Nell
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Nell by: SMM
Enjoyable peek at the private lives of the three Curzon sisters, especially the period between the two world wars which encompassed their early and middle adulthood. All the sisters were perceptive, bright, well traveled, and interested in the world and politics.

Irene, the oldest, never married despite several opportunities, yet always longed for a husband and children. She spent her early adulthood in the society fox hunting culture, seeing a married man who would never leave his wife. Her way
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Carolyn Harris
A joint biography of Irene, Cynthia and Alexandra Curzon, the three daughters of George Curzon, Viceroy of India and the American heiress, Mary Leiter. de Courcy provides a portrait of British upper class society in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, describing lavish dinner parties and debutante balls. The most interesting sections of the book are the accounts of King Edward VIII's abdication in 1936 and marriage to Wallis Simpson in 1937 from the perspective of his social circle. Alexandra Curzon was ...more
Pauline
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful commentary on life between the wars.
This book deals with the aristocrats and the movers and shakers in the U.K. Their lives litter the history books of the time. However we usually hear little of their private lives. The Viceroy,s daughters is a very detailed expose of the day to day life of the Curzon family. Having survived the childhood years ruled by an autocratic domineering father and several women they seemed to become quite stable adults. Though Irene could never settle down
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Whimsical
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Whimsical by: N/A
This was just such a good read! I am a huge fan of the writing of Anne De Courcy: she writes beautifully and all her books are so very well researched and presented.

The protagonists, Irene, Cimmie, and Baba are the Curzon sisters who lived through two wars, the Great War and World War II, an abdication and knew some of the players associated with these events. They along with their father were part of the British Aristocracy: he was once once Viceroy to India.

Their story is one of wealth, priv
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Dr.J.G.
After reading Sheila by Robert Wainwright and then Daughter of the Empire by Pamela Hicks about her life as a Mountbatten, this one is more about life of the upper caste set in England, with a lot of same names and the same general lives of theirs in that era, of parties ad cruises and affairs and so on, especially when it came to heiresses and other rich women - household and children concerns were taken care of by professionals, with little personal contact generally between parents and childr ...more
Monabi Mitra
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Researching Lord Curzon from Calcutta, a city he loved, I stumbled upon this book and it was a bit of a shock to see the life he led after the Indian dream was over! There was something so cheap and tawdry in their amoral lives, and all the jewels, parties, gossip, adultery contrasted with the bombastic speeches and heavy-handed rule of India that the Viceroy subjected us to.
To read this along with Marian Fowler's Below the Peacock Fan is to see the August English nobility for what they really
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Sarah
Feb 17, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-finished
Abandoned on page 28 of 443. Felt like there were huge holes in the story. The last straw was on page 29 when Cimmie inherited Curzon’s congenital malformation of the spine. The last we heard of his spine was on page 2 when his spinal problem was caused by falling of a horse. I assume the fall aggravated a spinal condition Curzon was unaware of. But it is typical of the writing that this is not made clear.
Angela
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I gave this book a four because it is well-researched. I originally thought it was going to center around India.

By the end of the book, I could not stand a single person. How could the sister countenance Tom's beliefs and actions? Going to all his meetings while saying on the side that they hate his position on Jews? All horrible people who were basically selfish their whole lives and did some charity work for redemption in between and towards the end.
Johannes
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The topic was far too interesting for the plain book I have to read. In the end, it's mostly an account of whom was "dating" who and nothing more, there was no background and there is, no mention of Mary Leiter's sister, etc etc etc etc so I'd not advise anyone to read this.
Emily
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
British Empire. Sisterhood. Curzon Family.

Anne
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lives intensely lived, close to to the heart of 20th century western history - with so many connections to power and glamour - with an underlay of selfishness, and service. Thoroughly fascinating.
Angela
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful book about some amazing women.
Susan Slatyer
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unexpectedly unputdownable.
Mary Montgomery
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED this book. Very well-written and fascinating ladies. The writer paced it like fiction. It was chronogical, which I prefer. I wish there was more on this, and by this writer.
Melissa
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
Enjoyed the read
queen esther
May 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biographies
This book is a trip.

If you want to know how the other half on the other side of the pond lived at the turn of the century, this is the book for you -- especially if that other half happens to be beautiful, rich, titled gentry, with the world's most powerful and influential men in their midst and yep, in their beds. This was a time when aristocratic life in the UK (and the rest of Europe, for that matter) was a thing of wonder. The opulence! The splendor! The money! These sisters embodied all of
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Anne de Courcy is a well-known writer, journalist and book reviewer. In the 1970s she was Woman’s Editor on the London Evening News until its demise in 1980, when she joined the Evening Standard as a columnist and feature-writer. In 1982 she joined the Daily Mail as a feature writer, with a special interest in historical subjects, leaving in 2003 to concentrate on books, on which she has talked wi ...more