Archive for August 9th, 2007

Juliet NicolsonJuliet Nicolson’s social history, The Perfect Summer: England 1911, Just Before the Storm, focuses on a time period some reviewers call “the high noon of the Victorian era.” Her first book tells the story of the super-hot summer of 1911 in England, covering the steamy sex lives of the upper crust and the economic trials of the working class.


The Bloomsbury connection to this London Daily Mail’s book club choice is the fact that its author is the granddaughter of Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville-West, Woolf’s lover in the 1920s and the inspiration for her psuedo-biography Orlando. Granddaughter Juliet lives in South Cottage, a 2-bedroom Elizabethan on the grounds of Sissinghurst Castle, her grandparents’ former home in Cranbrook, England.


Read a review of the book, which came out in May, in the Guardian or the Washington Post.

In Uncommon Arrangements, Katie Roiphe chronicles the romances of seven post-Uncommon ArrangementsVictorian power couples, as well as their theories about modernizing marriage. Vanessa and Clive Bell are one couple among the seven.

They are singled out for attention because of their unusual living arrangements, including Vanessa’s longtime relationship with the bi- or homosexual Duncan Grant while she was still married to Clive.


Another couple with a connection to Woolf who is thrust into the limelight in this book is Lady Ottoline Morrell and her husband Phillip.


Is the book wise and witty, as Wall Street Journal writer David Propson pronounces? Or shallow and irksome, as noted by Michelle Green of the New York Times? Only the reader can decide.

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