I didn’t have any expectations about this book, save that I assumed it was fiction. It isn’t – it’s a biography of the five-times-divorced Idina Sackville – and, as such, I’m not sure I’d have picked it up if it wasn’t the March read for the Waterstone’s bookgroup. I don’t usually ‘do’ biography although I realise I’ve not long slogged my way through Dickens and I’m loving the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. The Bolter has made me think that, perhaps, I should ‘do’ more biography.
Frances Osborne is the great-granddauhter of the infamous Idina who, as the blurb on this book says ‘scandalised 1920s society’. This isn’t just the story of dina – interesting though that was. Osborne has done mountains of research and, therefore, is able to write about class, society, war, morality and history with an authoritative and plesant voice. I now know a lot more about English society, Kenya, both World Wars and Idina Sackville having read this book and I’d recommend that anyone with an interest in these subjects read it too.