Posts Tagged ‘Idina Sackville’

The New York Times: "The Bolter creates a vivid portrait" of the wild, beautiful, fearless Idina Sackville

September 14th, 2009

Last Thursday in The New York Times, Michiko Kakutani praised Frances Osborne’s The Bolter. A scintillating book about the author’s great-grandmother, Idina Sackville, one of the scandal queens of Edwardian England and the ‘Happy Valley Set’ in Kenya between the wars. For those of you who adore anything by or about the Mitfords, Isak Dinesen, Evelyn Waugh, we think you’ll love this portrait of madcap postwar upper-class excess:

“Idina Sackville could have stepped out of an Evelyn Waugh satire about the bright young things who partied away their days in the ’20s and ’30s, and later crashed and burned. Idina married five times, had ‘lovers without number’ and three children whom she didn’t see for years at a time….

In The Bolter Frances Osborne, Idina’s great-granddaughter, creates a vivid portrait of her scandalous ancestor and her relationships with family members, while conjuring a vanished world with novelistic detail and flair. She gives us a guided tour of the Edwardian era of country house parties and the baronial splendor (and wretched excess) that the rich and very rich enjoyed in the years before World War I, as well as the frantic, partygoing world of the 1920s, immortalized in Waugh novels like Vile Bodies.…

It wasn’t just Idina but many of her spouses, friends and acquaintances who seemed to think little of abandoning children, jettisoning mates and continually moving on in search of new lives or new adventures. They resemble the Buchanans, whom F. Scott Fitzgerald described in his American jazz age novel The Great Gatsby as confused, self-indulgent people who ‘smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.'” Full Review >

The Bolter