A family memoir that traces the myths, legends, and secrets of seven generations of remarkable women.
All families have their myths and legends. For many years Juliet Nicolson accepted hers: the dangerous beauty of her flamenco dancing great-great-grandmother, Pepita; the flirty manipulation of her great-grandmother, Victoria; the infamous eccentricity of her grandmother, Vita Sackville-West; her mother's Tory-conventional background. But then Juliet, a distinguished historian, started to question. As she did so, she sifted fact from fiction, uncovering details and secrets long held just out of sight.
A House Full of Daughters takes us through seven generations of women. In the 19th-century slums of Malaga; the salons of fin-de-siecle Washington, DC; an English boarding school during the Second World War; Chelsea in the 1960s; the knife-edge that was New York City in the 1980s - these women emerge for Juliet as people in their own right, but also as part of who she is and where she has come from.
A House Full of Daughters is one woman's investigation into the nature of family, memory, and the past. As Juliet finds uncomfortable patterns reflected in these distant and more recent versions of herself, she realizes her challenge is to embrace the good and reject the hazards that have trapped past generations.
©2016 Juliet Nicolson (P)2016 Random House Audio
I wanted to enjoy this book - I am fascinated by family and how both internal and external circumstances shape one generation or another.
But I found the author interjected herself jarringly in places, and the narrator (who I have previously enjoyed) had little or no dialogue in the first 90 minutes to showcase her true talent.
I picked up and put down this book several times, and I can't decide what it is, specifically, that makes me disinterested...
Bookman Old Style
In this book, Juliet Nicolson presents a panorama of personalities that reflect perfectly the eras that they inhabited. Seven generations of women, starting with Pepita, the fiery Flamenco dancer who lived in splendid sin, and ending with herself, the author, child of a more prosaic age, who sobers herself in AA and commits to the unexceptionality of one day at a time. Entertaining and diverting, the book can be enjoyed on many levels and doesn't require any prior knowledge of any of these women, one of whom (Vita Sackville-West) is quite notorious and has been much written about before. Each woman lived as her setting in time and place required, right down to the definition of wicked her surroundings dictated. The narrator is pleasant and pretty good, except for some mispronunciations here and there. She suits the material quite well. I certainly recommend this biography to those who want to be entertained intelligently.
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