Frances Osborne Spills the Family Secrets

Frances Osborne acknowledges that while writing The Bolter she met resistance from family members reluctant to have the story of Osborne’s infamous great-grandmother told. But from the age of 13 she had been hooked on the story, and eventually they came around. In a piece on The Daily Beastabout writing The Bolter, Frances Osborne explains that now they’re glad she told the true story…and we are too—this bestselling biography is a fascinating portrait of a woman who lived by her own rules and left the legacy to prove it.

In an age of bolters—women who broke the rules and fled their marriages—Idina Sackville was the most celebrated of them all. Her relentless affairs, wild sex parties, and brazen flaunting of convention shocked high society and inspired countless writers and artists, from Nancy Mitford to Greta Garbo. But Idina’s compelling charm masked the pain of betrayal and heartbreak.

Now Frances Osborne explores the life of Idina, her enigmatic great-grandmother, using letters, diaries, and family legend, following her from Edwardian London to the hills of Kenya, where she reigned over the scandalous antics of the “Happy Valley Set.” Dazzlingly chic yet warmly intimate, The Bolter is a fascinating look at a woman whose energy still burns bright almost a century later.

Read an excerpt.