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May and Amy: A True Story of Family, Forbidden Love, and the Secret Lives of May Gaskell, Her Daughter Amy, and Sir Edward Burne-Jones
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May and Amy: A True Story of Family, Forbidden Love, and the Secret Lives of May Gaskell, Her Daughter Amy, and Sir Edward Burne-Jones

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  77 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Always intrigued by Edward Burne-Jones’s portrait of her great-aunt, Amy Gaskell, Josceline Dimbleby’s chance meeting with the painting’s current owner encouraged her to explore the mystery of her own family’s past and the life and death of her beautiful great-aunt.

In her search, Dimbleby uncovered a passionate correspondence between Burne-Jones and her great-grandmother,
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Paperback, 384 pages
Published March 28th 2006 by Three Rivers Press (first published March 1st 2004)
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Audra (Unabridged Chick)
The subtitle of this breathlessly boring biography is 'A True Story of Family, Forbidden Love, and the Secret Lives of May Gaskell, Her Daughter Amy, and Sir Edward Burne-Jones'. There are three stories Dimbleby tries to tell and while there is the basis of something interesting in their stories, she manages to make it exhausting and drawn-out. The title gives the implication of some tragic connection between Burne-Jones and both Gaskell women, but this is not true: only the first third of the b ...more
Grace
Jun 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
From around page 80 until Edward Burne-Jones' death, I give this book 5 stars. The description of his correspondence with May Gaskell and her family was just riveting, and the exerpts of the actual letters made me nearly giddy. He was not just an amazing painter, but apparently quite lyrical with his pen. A vast amount of this book, however, reads like a family history that would (sorry) only be interesting to relatives of the author.

Four stars, however, because as I said...the segments that in
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Susan Liston
Dec 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Edward Burne-Jones is really just one of many characters in this story, which could easily have been written as a novel, I almost forgot at times that it wasn't. The fact that it is true made it much more compelling and I enjoyed it quite a lot. Not for everyone, of course, this has to be the sort of thing you like.
Jen
Jul 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The story behind one of Burne-Jones' haunting portraits is in itself haunting. Years after the fact I am still referencing the people and places in the book. This is one of those novels that, when it ends, you feel slightly lost and miss the people and places. Very well done. This is "one of those books."
Helen Carolan
Jun 13, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What a dreadful read. slow and boring. this lady normally writes cookery books and columns and perhaps she should stick with that. one of the worst books i've read this year.
Barbara
Sep 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
I liked the story and some of the family history. But what I have a supreme problem is her reliance on the rhetorical questions. Like Kathyrn hughes mentions. They are overly dramatic and make you think something definite will be revealed. And sadly, not so much. Abit torn. It is interesting, but I wanted more Pre-Raph stuff.

From Kathyrn Hughes' review of A Profound Secret.
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2004...

Are these relentlessly rhetorical questions annoying? They are nothing compared wi
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Maureen
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk, nonfiction, 1900s, 1800s, 2017
I wish I could remember why this was on my TBR apparently added at the end of 2010. I seem to recall that one of the main characters and this book was mentioned in another book I read but a quick look of books read in 2010 doesn't throw any light on this.

Anyway I couldn't see any point in this book for the general public. Without all the facts, nothing was really revealed that could have been shocking by the standards of the time.

The only reason this is a two-star review and not one star is that
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Linda
Dec 29, 2009 rated it liked it
Enjoyed the book, but have to admit I was put off by May's apparent preoccupation with her looks and her daughter. Burne Jones fueled the fire in a way that made me squirm at times. He seemed always to be looking for the fountain of youth through (young) women's faces and figures, and idealized them much as he did fairy tales and Medieval legends. I finished the book with a sense of gloomy relief.
Lorna
I'm really struggling with this book. It's made me keen to visit Great Witley in north Worcestershire, but I can't take much more of the author's intricate detailing of her ancestor's lives. (I'm on chapter 3 and unlikely to get much further. Life is too short. Sorry book group friends.)
Denise
Mar 05, 2009 rated it liked it
I enjoyed it, but feel the author's family will get the most satifaction. Not an exciting read. I think it's a good look at the era but I never felt we really got to the crux of Amy, what she was really about.
Mithra Birdie
Sep 06, 2012 rated it it was ok


The book drags a bit, but it is interesting to read about the lives of the women during this period in history
Lora
Sep 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I love the victorian period. This is fascinating and intimate geneology.
Ann Naumann
Strangely compelling. I would recommend this for my Anglophile friends interested in a more personal perspective into that cusp of time between the Victorian and Edwardian eras.
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