Related to: 'Deborah Devonshire'

Hodder & Stoughton

Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough

Hugo Vickers
Authors:
Hugo Vickers

Marcel Proust wrote of Gladys 'I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.' A friend and muse also to Rodin, Epstein and Hoffmansthal, the daughter of wealthy Americans, Gladys's childhood was overshadowed by her father's imprisonment for murdering her mother's lover. Leaving the States for Europe, with her glamorous yet formidable mother, at the height of the belle epoque, she became adored and admired in the finest literary and aristocratic circles. In England she became a favourite guest at Blenheim during the Duke of Marlborough's first marriage to the American heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt. Despite many offers of marriage, Gladys kept her independence until, aged 40, she received the invitation she could not refuse - to marry the Duke of Marlborough and, as his second wife, become the Duchess of Blenheim Palace. But it was to be unhappy, Gladys loathing the Duke, and in the end finding herself cruelly evicted from Blenheim. Her final years were spent in lonely, eccentric isolation, never losing her fiercely independent spirit.Acclaimed royal biographer Hugo Vickers, editor of the bestselling The Quest for Queen Mary, knew Gladys towards the end of her life. He draws on his vivid recollections, diaries, and Gladys's personal archive to bring us the tale of a fascinating, alluring, complex, largely forgotten woman of her age.

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A Death at Fountains Abbey

Antonia Hodgson
Authors:
Antonia Hodgson
Hodder & Stoughton

Second Innings

Andrew Flintoff
Authors:
Andrew Flintoff
Hodder & Stoughton

Plague Land

S D Sykes
Authors:
S D Sykes

Oswald de Lacy was never meant to be the Lord of Somerhill Manor. Despatched to a monastery at the age of seven, sent back at seventeen when his father and two older brothers are killed by thePlague, Oswald has no experience of running an estate. He finds the years of pestilence and neglect have changed the old place dramatically, not to mention the attitude of the surviving peasants. Yet some things never change. Oswald's mother remains the powerful matriarch of the family, and his sister Clemence simmers in the background, dangerous and unmarried. Before he can do anything, Oswald is confronted by the shocking death of a young woman, Alison Starvecrow. The ambitious village priest claims that Alison was killed by a band of demonic dog-headed men. Oswald is certain this is nonsense, but proving it - by finding the real murderer - is quite a different matter. Every step he takes seems to lead Oswald deeper into a dark maze of political intrigue, family secrets and violent strife. And then the body of another girl is found. SD Sykes brilliantly evokes the landscape and people of medieval Kent in this thrillingly suspenseful debut.

Hodder & Stoughton

Lady Catherine and the Real Downton Abbey

The Countess Of Carnarvon
Authors:
The Countess Of Carnarvon

Sometimes the facts are even more extraordinary than the fiction... This book tells the story of Lady Catherine, a beautiful American girl who became the chatelaine of Highclere Castle, the setting for Julian Fellowes' award-winning drama Downton Abbey. Charming and charismatic, Catherine caught the eye of Lord Porchester (or 'Porchey', as he was known) when she was just 20 years old, and wearing a pale yellow dress at a ball. She had already turned down 14 proposals before she eventually married Porchey in 1922. But less than a year later Porchey's father died suddenly, and he became the 6th Earl of Carnarvon, inheriting a title and a Castle that changed both their lives forever. Catherine found herself suddenly in charge of a small army of household staff, and hosting lavish banquets and weekend house parties. Although the couple were very much in love, considerable challenges lay ahead for Catherine. They were immediately faced with the task of saving Highclere when debts threatened to destroy the estate. As the 1920s moved to a close, Catherine's adored brother died and she began to lose her husband to the distractions London had to offer. When the Second World War broke out, life at the Castle would never be the same again. Drawing on rich material from the private archives at Highclere, including beautiful period photographs, the current Countess of Carnarvon transports us back to the thrilling and alluring world of the 'real Downton Abbey' and its inhabitants.(P)2013 Hodder & Stoughton

Hodder & Stoughton

Softly Grow the Poppies

Audrey Howard
Authors:
Audrey Howard

Rose Beechworth is mistress of a charming country house - her own, left to her by her wealthy father. In the summer of 1914, she is not even looking for love. Alice Weatherly turns Rose's world upside down. The loveable young heiress longs to kiss Captain Charlie Summers goodbye - she takes Rose to Liverpool's Lime Street station and into the heart of Charlie's brother Harry. Even though they are neighbours, they have never met, for Rose ignores the social round, while Harry's time is taken up desperately attempting to keep his father's ramshackle estate together. When he inherits Summer Place, a magnificent mansion with a proud history, he gladly lets it become a hospital for wounded soldiers. As the war takes its terrible toll and Charlie disappears into the fog of battle, Alice - the spoilt runaway heiress - becomes a heroine, while Rose finds herself running two great houses. It seems impossible that any of them can ever find happiness again.'Her thousands of fans recognise the artistry of a true storyteller' Lancashire Life

Hodder & Stoughton

The Glitter and the Gold

Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan
Authors:
Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan

Consuelo Vanderbilt was young, beautiful and the heir to a vast family fortune. She was also deeply in love with an American suitor when her mother chose instead for her to fulfil her social ambitions and marry an English Duke. Leaving her life in America, she came to England as the Duchess of Marlborough in 1895 and took up residence in her new home - Blenheim Palace.The 9th Duchess gives unique first-hand insight into life at the very pinnacle of English society in the Edwardian era. An unsnobbish, but often amused observer of the intricate hierarchy both upstairs and downstairs at Blenheim Palace, she is also a revealing witness to the glittering balls, huge weekend parties and major state occasions she attended or hosted. Here are her encounters with every important figure of the day - from Queen Victoria, Edward V11 and Queen Alexandra to Tsar Nicholas, Prince Metternich and the young Winston Churchill.Causing a scandal by separating from the Duke after 11 years, Consuelo began her new life as philanthropist, public speaker and campaigner for women's suffrage. Her literary soirees would include H G Wells, JM Barrie and George Bernard Shaw. In 1921 she remarried aviator Jacques Balsan moving with him to a chateau in the South of France.This intimate, richly enjoyable memoir is a wonderfully revealing portrait of a golden age.

Hodder & Stoughton

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey

Countess Of Carnarvon
Authors:
Countess Of Carnarvon

Lady Fiona Carnarvon became the chatelaine of Highclere Castle - the setting of the hit series Downton Abbey - eight years ago. In that time she's become fascinated by the rich history of Highclere, and by the extraordinary people who lived there over the centuries. One person particularly captured Fiona's imagination - Lady Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon. Almina was the illegitimate daughter of banking tycoon Alfred de Rothschild. She was his only daughter and he doted on her. She married the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, at 19, with an enormous dowry. At first, life at Highclere was a dizzying mix of sumptuous banquets for 500 and even the occasional royal visitor. Almina oversaw 80 members of staff - many of whom came from families who had worked at Highclere for generations. But when the First World War broke out, life at Highclere changed forever. History intervened and Almina and the staff of Highclere were thrown into one of the most turbulent times of the last century. Almina was forced to draw on her deepest reserves of courage in order to ensure her family, the staff and the castle survived.This is the remarkable story of a lost time. But Highclere remains and in this book, Fiona weaves Almina's journey and those of her family into the heritage and history of one of England's most exquisite Victorian castles.

John Murray

All in One Basket

Deborah Devonshire
Authors:
Deborah Devonshire

Entertaining, instructive, thought-provoking and hilarious, the unmistakeable voice of Deborah Devonshire rings out of this volume which combines her two collections of 'occasional' writings - Home to Roost and Counting My Chickens. The pieces are broad and eclectic in their subjects, ranging from treasures unearthed while the kitchen was being redecorated, musings about the reason for the reworded town sign, tourism at Chatsworth, a ringside view of both John F. Kennedy's inauguration and funeral, and the value of deportment. No matter what she's writing about she is always affectionate, shrewd and uproariously funny.

John Murray

In Tearing Haste

Patrick Leigh Fermor, Deborah Devonshire
Authors:
Patrick Leigh Fermor, Deborah Devonshire

In spring 1956, Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire - youngest of the six legendary Mitford sisters - invited the writer and war hero Patrick Leigh Fermor to visit Lismore Castle, the Devonshires' house in Ireland. This halcyon visit sparked off a deep friendship and a lifelong exchange of sporadic but highly entertaining letters. There can rarely have been such contrasting styles: Debo, unashamed philistine and self-professed illiterate (though suspected by her friends of being a secret reader), darts from subject to subject while Paddy, polyglot, widely read prose virtuoso, replies in the fluent, polished manner that has earned him recognition as one of the finest writers in the English language. Prose notwithstanding, the two friends have much in common: a huge enjoyment of life, youthful high spirits, warmth, generosity and lack of malice. There are glimpses of President Kennedy's inauguration, weekends at Sandringham, stag hunting in France, filming with Errol Flynn in French Equatorial Africa and, above all, of life at Chatsworth, the great house that Debo spent much of her life restoring, and of Paddy in the house that he and his wife Joan designed and built on the southernmost peninsula of Greece.

John Murray

Wait For Me!

Deborah Devonshire
Authors:
Deborah Devonshire

Deborah Devonshire is a natural writer with a knack for the telling phrase and for hitting the nail on the head. She tells the story of her upbringing, lovingly and wittily describing her parents (so memorably fictionalised by her sister Nancy); she talks candidly about her brother and sisters, and their politics (while not being at all political herself), finally setting the record straight. Throughout the book she writes brilliantly about the country and her deep attachment to it and those who live and work in it. As Duchess of Devonshire, Debo played an active role in restoring and overseeing the day-to-day running of the family houses and gardens, and in developing commercial enterprises at Chatsworth. She tells poignantly of the deaths of three of her children, as well as her husband's battle with alcohol addiction. Wait For Me is enthralling and a total joy, full of the author's sympathetic wit (which she is not afraid to use on herself).

Hodder & Stoughton

Duchess by Night

Eloisa James
Authors:
Eloisa James

Disguise is a dangerous game . . . After a lifetime as a wallflower Harriet, the Duchess of Berrow, is finally seeking a little pleasure of her own. And where better to begin than at the house of one of the most disreputable men in the country, Lord Strange? The high-stakes games of lust and chance that rule Strange's household, however, mean that even being seen crossing his threshold could ruin her reputation forever. So Harriet swaps her hoops and corsets for a pair of breeches and transforms herself into a young male relative of the Duke of Villiers. Before she knows it, Harriet is writing bawdy missives on behalf of a young actress, not to mention winning card games played by the most powerful men in England. But when she starts attracting male attention, Harriet must decide whether to stay in her disguise - or to reveal that she's really a duchess by night . . .

John Murray

Home to Roost

Deborah Devonshire
Authors:
Deborah Devonshire

'My father would not have wasted time reading - a trait I have inherited from him.' The unmistakeable voice of Deborah Devonshire, the youngest of the Mitford sisters, rings out of this second volume of her occasional writings.As broad and eclectic as her long and eventful life, the pieces range from a ringside view of John F. Kennedy's inauguration and funeral, a valedictory for her local post office, the 1938 London season, Christmas at Chatsworth and the hazards of shopping for clothes when your eyesight is failing.Affectionate, shrewd and uproariously funny, her no-nonsense, bang-on-the-nail observations are as good as any antidepressant.

Interview

The Guardian talks to Deborah Devonshire

The Duchess of Devonshire talks to the Guardian about her life, famous sisters, and why she doesn't like change.

Extract

GRACE WILLIAMS SAYS IT LOUD, by Emma Henderson

Read an excerpt of Emma Henderson's GRACE WILLIAMS SAYS IT ALL, shortlisted for the Orange Prize 2011.

Chapter One: The House of Punk Sleep

WIDE AWAKE, by Patricia Morrisroe

Read an excerpt of the first chapter of Patricia Morrisroe's brilliant memoir about insomnia, WIDE AWAKE.

The John Murray Story 1768 - present

About John Murray

Founded in 1768, John Murray has a proud tradition of innovation and the fostering of genius, from Byron, Austen and Darwin on.

An excerpt from the Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing

CLOUD ATLAS, by David Mitchell

Read an excerpt of David Mitchell's international bestseller, CLOUD ATLAS, now also releasing as a film.

Chapter One

TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, by John le Carré

Read the first chapter of John le Carré's acclaimed TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, now a major film.

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