A Book of Secrets: Illegitimate Daughters, Absent Fathers
"A Book of Secrets" is a masterfully atmospheric treasure-trove of hidden lives, uncelebrated achievements and family mysteries. Acclaimed biographer Michael Holroyd peers into dusty corners to bring a company of unknown women into the light: Alice Keppel was the mistress of both the second Lord Grimthorpe and the Prince of Wales; Eve Fairfax was Lord Grimthorpe's abandoned fiancee and sometime muse of Auguste Rodin; and, the novelist Violet Trefusis was the lover of Vita Sackville-West. Taking the reader on a journey of discovery from Ravello to Paris, from Kirkstall Grange in Yorkshire to Vita Sackville-West's home at Knole, "A Book of Secrets" lucidly gives voice to fragile human connections.
A masterfully atmospheric book of hidden lives and family secrets from the celebrated biographer
"Intoxicating . . . Burst[s] with the tremendous generosity of its author . . . From the first page "A Book of Secrets" casts the spell of a time long gone, of loves endured and lost, expectations dashed on the rocks of reality, of inner desires forever stilled, casting their shadows into history. It is written with the kind of elegance, ease and simplicity possible only from a master craftsman who has flown far beyond any learning curve and is relishing his free fall. [Holroyd] carries us as if on a magic carpet from one character to the next, and one time period to the next, with consummate grace. Holroyd is a kind of Fred Astaire on the page, his many steps becoming one grand, profound design . . . [H]is heart and humor bounce in vibrant rays off every hot-blooded, lovelorn, crazy, jealous and joyous woman--and what enlightened being would have any woman be otherwise? - in his book . . .
Besides the Lives of Augustus John, Bernard Shaw and Lytton Strachey (which was filmed as Carrington), Michael Holroyd has written two volumes of memoirs, Basil Street Blues and Mosaic. His most recent book, A Strange Eventful History, winner of the James Tait Black Prize, was a biography of two great theatrical dynasties which included Henry Irving, Ellen Terry, and her son Edward Gordon Craig. He has been president of the Royal Society of Literature and is the first non-fiction writer to have been awarded the British Literature Prize. He lives in London and Somerset with his wife, the novelist Margaret Drabble.