By Siân Evans
Queen Bees looks at the lives of six remarkable women who made careers out of being society hostesses, including Lady Astor, who went on to become the first female MP, and Mrs Greville, who cultivated relationships with Edward VII, as well as Lady Londonderry, Lady Cunard, Laura Corrigan and Lady Colefax. Written with wit, verve and heart, Queen Bees is the story of a form of societal revolution, and the extraordinary women who helped it happen.In the aftermath of the First World War, the previously strict hierarchies of the British class system were weakened. For a number of ambitious, spirited women, this was the chance they needed to slip through the cracks and take their place at the top of society as the great hostesses of the time. In an age when the place of women was uncertain, becoming a hostess was not a chore, but a career choice, and though some of the hostesses' backgrounds were surprisingly humble, their aspirations were anything but. During the inter-war years these extraordinary women ruled over London society from their dining tables and salons - entertaining everyone from the Mosleys to the Mitfords, from millionaires to maharajahs, from film stars to royalty - and their influence can still be felt today.
Queenie Malone's Paradise Hotel
By Ruth Hogan, Jane Collingwood
'As lovely as a burst of bright bluebells' Sunday Express 'Technicolor' Daily Mail'A moving exploration of the complex relationship between mothers and daughters' Observer'A poignant tale of love and family' Good Housekeeping'Enchanting . . . divine' Prima 'Beautifully written - astute and funny' Daily Express'This book really shines . . . laugh-out-loud funny' Stylist'A tender tale' Woman & Home'Absorbing, tender and heartfelt' Mike Gayle, author of The Man I Think I Know'Her best novel yet' Hannah Beckerman, author of If Only I Could Tell You'Exuberant and full of zest' Nina PottellThe new novel from Ruth Hogan, the bestselling author of The Keeper of Lost Things and The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes - an uplifting novel of mothers and daughters, families and secrets and the astonishing power of friendship.Tilly was a bright, outgoing little girl who liked playing with ghosts and matches. She loved fizzy drinks, swear words, fish fingers and Catholic churches, but most of all she loved living in Brighton in Queenie Malone's magnificent Paradise Hotel with its endearing and loving family of misfits - staff and guests alike. But Tilly's childhood was shattered when her mother sent her away from the only home she'd ever loved to boarding school with little explanation and no warning.Many years later, Tilda has grown into an independent woman still damaged by her mother's unaccountable cruelty. Wary of people, her only friend is her dog, Eli. But when her mother dies, Tilda goes back to Brighton and with the help of her beloved Queenie sets about unravelling the mystery of her exile from The Paradise Hotel, only to discover that her mother was not the woman she thought she knew at all ...Mothers and daughters ... their story can be complicated ... but it can also turn out to have a happy ending.