One Girl and Her Books

Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life. ~Mark Twain

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Viceroy's Daughters - The Lives of The Curzon Sisters by Anne De Courcy

Well, I have to say that this book was wonderful! I found it hard to put down each night. This period of UK "Society" history just fascinates me! I knew a wee bit about Cimmie and Baba before but I knew next to nothing about Irene - who became my favourite. It's so interesting to read other sides to stories that one thought they were knowledgeable on. In this case, I admit that my to-ing and fro-ing like/dislike of Edward and Mrs Simpson is now very much in the dislike state after reading this book. My view of Oswald "Tom" Mosley has also plummeted - although I was never a fan of him anyway. I knew that Baba Curzon was a lover of Mosley's after Cimmie's death ( and incredible Irene had had a night of passion with him too - talk about keeping it in the family!!!!) - however I didn't realise that Baba and Mosley's affair was so serious. What was it about this man??? He seems to have been able to enchant any woman he wanted. He certainly wasn't handsome in my opinion and, let's face it, he was an anti Semitic fascist!!

I was really interested in Baba and Fruity Metcalfe (I just love that nickname) and their friendship with Edward and Wallis. As I said earlier, I have a love/hate relationship with Edward and Wallis. Sometimes I feel so sorry for them and sometimes I think they deserved everything they got, and a whole lot more! I plan to reread Diana Mosley's biog on them again shortly so will leave most of my thoughts until I review that. I will say, however, that Edward treated Fruity abominably and yet Fruity was devoted to him until death. Baba was a "bit of a girl" and had endless "encounters" throughout her marriage. However, I couldn't help but like her!

Cimmie, who died aged 34, seemed to be a really "nice" woman, devoted to her husband and children. I suspect that she entered her political career to try to get her husband to tow the line - it didn't work. However, it was the eldest sister, Irene, who I really warmed to. She was musical, loved fox hunting, parties, and had a strong Christian faith. Infact I learnt from the book that not only did Oswald Mosley visit Swansea, my hometown, for a Blackshirt meeting but Irene spoke in a number of churches in the area in 1942! In WW2 both Irene and Baba did an awful lot of hands on war work, which really impressed me. Irene never married and wanted children badly - she often drowned her sorrows in drink. However, she was an amazing aunty to Cimmie's children - Mosley has to be one of history's worst fathers - and, indeed, to Baba and Fruity's twins. I really felt her pain as she saw middle age approaching and no baby in sight :-( But at least she could pop on a first class liner and go on a 3 month cruise to cheer herself up!!! ;-O

The accounts of the parties with Nancy Astor and Emerald Cunard, the hunts, the clothes buying and the travelling is so interesting. Yes, another great book that I recommend!

1 comment:

Tara said...

Great review! I'm really looking forward to this - I'm drawn to books about groups of sisters for some reason. Well, perhaps because I am one of 3 sisters!