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Synopsis

A unique window on an extraordinary life lived with tremendous zest, discrimination, and intelligence

The Duchess of Devonshire is the youngest of the Mitford siblings, the famous brood that includes the writers Nancy and Jessica. Like them, she has lived an unusually full and remarkable life, and like them she has an inimitable expressive gift. In Counting My Chickens, she has gathered extracts from her diaries and other writings to create a multifaceted portrait of her life at Chatsworth, the home of the Dukes of Devonshire, that is pithy, hilarious, wise, and always richly rewarding.

Under the Duchess's inspired supervision, Chatsworth has become one of England's most frequently visited great houses, welcoming over 400,000 visitors a year. The Duchess reveals what it takes to keep such an establishment alive and prospering, tells of transporting a goat by train from the Scottish island of Mull to London, discusses having her portrait painted by Lucian Freud, and provides rich reminisces of growing up a Mitford--along with telling anecdotes about friends from Evelyn Waugh to John F. Kennedy. From Tom Stoppard's adoring Introduction to the author's meditation on the beauty of Elvis Presley's voice, COUNTING MY CHICKENS offers continuous surprise and delight.

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