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Publisher's Summary

The three dazzlingly beautiful, wildly rich Wyndham sisters, part of the 400 families that made up Britain's ruling class, at the center of cultural and political life in late-Victorian/Edwardian Britain. Here are their complex, idiosyncratic lives; their opulent, privileged world; their romantic, roiling age. 

They were confidantes to British prime ministers, poets, writers, and artists, their lives entwined with the most celebrated and scandalous figures of the day, from Oscar Wilde to Henry James. They were the lovers of great men - or men of great prominence...

Mary Wyndham, wilder than her wild brothers; lover of Wilfrid Blunt, confidante of Prime Minister Arthur Balfour (the Balfour Declaration); married to Hugo, Lord Elcho; later the Countess of Wemyss...

Madeline Adeane, the quietest and happiest of the three...

And Pamela, spoiled, beautiful; of the three, possesser of the true talent; wife of the foreign secretary Edward Grey (later Viscount Grey), who took Britain into the First World War. 

They lived in a world of luxurious excess, a world of splendor at 44 Belgrave Square and later at the even more vast Clouds, the exquisite Wiltshire house on 4,000 acres, the "house of the age", designed in 1876 by the visionary architect Philip Webb - the model for Henry James' The Spoils of Poynton.

They were bred with the pride of the Plantagenets and raised with a fierce belief that their family was exceptional. They avoided the norm at all costs and led the way to a blending of aristocracy and art. Their group came to be called The Souls, whose members from 1885 to the 1920s included the most distinguished politicians, artists, and thinkers of their time.

In Those Wild Wyndhams, Claudia Renton gives us a dazzling portrait of one of England's grandest, noblest families. Renton captures, with nuance and depth, their complex wrangling between head and heart and the tragedy at the center of all their lives as the privilege and bliss of the Victorian age gave way to the Edwardian era, the Great War, and the passing of an opulent world.

©2018 Claudia Renton (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"[An] accomplished literary debut, a spirited and captivating history of the lives and loves of aristocrats in Victorian/Edwardian Britain...a richly detailed tapestry featuring the alluring Wyndham sisters... A sparkling family portrait and riveting history." (Kirkus)

"Three high-society sisters who were part of the British cultural and political elite in the late 19th and early 20th centuries...a portrait of the aristocratic intelligentsia in Victorian and Edwardian England. This tale of the witty, sparkling privileged set may appeal most to fans of Downton Abbey." (Publishers Weekly)

"It is many years since I have been waiting for someone to fill Nancy Mitford's shoes as a U-biographer, but Claudia Renton has done it with her lively, spirited story of the three beautiful Wyndham sisters and the privileged world in which they lived. Her book elegantly combines romance and history, set against the ultimately doomed and fatal glory of Edwardian England." (Michael Korda, author of Alone)

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This Wild Wyndhams...an incisive look at the British ruling class

A 19th century and early 20th century narrative of one of Britain’s most interesting families with their strengths and foibles on full displays. A marvel of research and told in a most entertaining way.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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SLOW START BUT STICK WITH THIS ONE

I had trouble getting into this book at first. I don’t know if it was the narrator or the way the story began. Fortunately I fell asleep and woke up around Chapter 5. THEN the fun began!

This is a well-written story about 3 little known yet amazing female members of minor British aristocracy. Each sister is unique, talented and innovative in her own way. I’m not going to say a lot here. This is a book that will interest each listener in his or her own way. Try it, stick with it and ....ENJOY!

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Powerful Women

After having read about these sisters and their families on the periferie of so many other histories and biographies, it is magical to have a whole great read devoted to just them.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful