A Book of Secrets
The author shares the stories of unknown women who played significant roles in the lives of prominent figures, including a mistress shared by the second Lord Grimthorpe and the Prince of Wales, a creative muse of Auguste Rodin, and a novelist lover of Vita Sackville-West.
A Publishers Weekly Best Nonfiction title for 2011
On a hill above the Italian village of Ravello sits the Villa Cimbrone, a place of fantasy and make-believe. The characters that move through Michael Holroyd’s new book are destined never to meet, yet the Villa Cimbrone unites them all.
A Book of Secrets is a treasure trove of hidden lives, uncelebrated achievements, and family mysteries. With grace and tender imagination, Holroyd brings a company of unknown women into the light. From Alice Keppel, the mistress of both the second Lord Grimthorpe and the Prince of Wales; to Eve Fairfax, a muse of Auguste Rodin; to the novelist Violet Trefusis, the lover of Vita Sackville-West—these women are always on the periphery of the respectable world.
Also on the margins is the elusive biographer, who on occasion turns an appraising eye upon himself as part of his investigations in the maze of biography. In A Book of Secrets, Holroyd gives voice to fragile human connections and the mystery of place.
The award-winning author of
illegitimate daughters, absent fathers
The importance of being Ernest and some women of no importance
Ernest goes abroad
All about Eve
With Catherine at Cimbrone
Excitements, earthquakes, and elopements
Women in love
Epilogue: Time regained
Afterword: A history of the books
From the critics
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