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No names are dropped for the sake of it. No mad and witty intimacies with the great are vaunted. Few wild parties are attended, despite the eccentric pressures of Frances Donaldson's father, the playwright Frederick Lonsdale, whose personality is one of the book's delights.
First published in 1962, in her neat and good-tempered way the author brings alive the attitudes and the atmospheres common to the twenties and thirties. Abetted by her father, she passed through the mill of night-clubs into a faulty marriage, from which she escaped early in the thirties to take part in her second husband's, Jack Donaldson's, heartening social experiment in Peckham. Using the same intelligence that brought success in her father's sophisticated entourage, she now became part of the serious world of left-wing intellectualism; in those frivolous times a most unfashionable pursuit. And with that she abandons us on the eve of the Second War; leaving us with an impression of the intelligence, humour and skill with the pen which, in the quarter century since this book was first published, have made the name of Frances Donaldson famous as the eminent biographer of such figures as Edward VIII and P.G. Wodehouse.
- Bloomsbury Publishing, December 2011
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