The Bolter: Edwardian Heartbreak and High Society Scandal

The Bolter: Edwardian Heartbreak and High Society Scandal in Kenya [Reading] ➹ The Bolter: Edwardian Heartbreak and High Society Scandal in Kenya Author Frances Osborne – Thomashillier.co.uk On Friday th May, , a forty one year old woman walked into the lobby of Claridge s Hotel to meet the nineteen year old son whose face she did not know Fifteen years earlier, as the First World War end On Friday th May a forty one year Edwardian Heartbreak PDF/EPUB ë old woman walked into the lobby of Claridge s Hotel to meet the nineteen year old son whose face she did not know Fifteen years earlier, as the First World War ended, Idina Sackville shocked high society by leaving his multimillionaire father to run off to Africa with a near penniless manAn inspiration for Nancy Mitford s character The Bolter, painted by William Orpen, and photographed by Cecil Beaton, Sackville went on to The Bolter: eBook ☆ divorce a total of five times, yet died with a picture of her first love by her bed Her struggle to reinvent her life with each new marriage left one husband murdered and branded her the high priestess of White Mischief s bed hopping Happy Valley in Kenya Sackville s life was so scandalous that it was kept a secret from her great granddaughter Frances Osborne Now, Osborne tells the moving tale of betrayal and heartbreak behind Sackville s road to scandal Bolter: Edwardian Heartbreak PDF/EPUB Á and return, painting a dazzling portrait of high society in the early twentieth century.


10 thoughts on “The Bolter: Edwardian Heartbreak and High Society Scandal in Kenya

  1. Michelle Michelle says:

    This is another case of a memoir being different from its portrayal in a review I expected a book about a high society woman in the early to mid part of the 20th century who desperately sought pleasure, no matter the number of husbands or children she left behind And while she married and divorced five times and had a few kids thrown in, she seemedthe boltee than the bolter She almost always was the one left behind, or she was forced to leave due to her husband s behavior Despite the d This is another case of a memoir being different from its portrayal in a review I expected a book about a high society woman in the early to mid part of the 20th century who desperately sought pleasure, no matter the number of husbands or children she left behind And while she married and divorced five times and had a few kids thrown in, she seemedthe boltee than the bolter She almost always was the one left behind, or she was forced to leave due to her husband s behavior Despite the drunken and drug fueled orgies and constant spouse swapping, it is pretty clear she just wanted long term love and stability It s sad she never really got that Granted, if you have an open marriage and your life is one constant party and you even use your best friend as sexual bait to keep your husband around the homestead , that s probably not gone to pan out too well for you in the end.I think all the things and people in the life of The Bolter were almost as interesting, if notso, than the woman herself Several years ago, a person referred to a town I lived in at the time as Happy Valley Never knew the reference until this book now I need clarification on that comment But between these grand estates built in Kenya, the friends who injected morphine in plain sight, the psycho best friend, people getting shot, multiple suicides, the interesting and cruel husbands Lady Idina was not the most fascinating part of the book A couple of things struck me about this book on a bigger scale, too The first was that she hung out with this whole gaggle of people who didn t need to work for a living and shipped their kids off to boarding school I know plenty of people who don t need to work, but it seems now people in such a situation usually find some kind of vocation or time consuming hobby other than drugs or sex Also, the author great granddaughter of The Bolter pieced together much of her story using letters and diaries It made me really sad that people don t do this so much any Through these letters between family members and others, you really get a taste of who this woman was Even gossipy letters between family members stuff that done on IM or via text or cell phone now In this information age, is the information doomed to die a quicker death Anyway, somewhat of a tangent Good book I hope some of my Good Reads friends pick it up so I can hear what they think


  2. Hannah Hannah says:

    I started this yesterday, and once I picked it up I couldn t put it down Weirdly enough, Osborne s writing wasn t what kept me glued, since IMO it wasn t a very strong and some of the chapters were boring and unfocused That being said, the story of her great grandmother Idina s life was like passing a wreck on the side of the road you know you shouldn t gawp, but you can t look away from the damage.For all her wealth and priviledge, Idina lived what to me was an empty, wasted life She devo I started this yesterday, and once I picked it up I couldn t put it down Weirdly enough, Osborne s writing wasn t what kept me glued, since IMO it wasn t a very strong and some of the chapters were boring and unfocused That being said, the story of her great grandmother Idina s life was like passing a wreck on the side of the road you know you shouldn t gawp, but you can t look away from the damage.For all her wealth and priviledge, Idina lived what to me was an empty, wasted life She devoted her time and energies toward the pursuit and fulfilment of pleasure Osborne makes the claim that her great grandmother was only looking for permanent love, but after 5 failed marriages and lovers without number , Idina herself was obviously searching for the wrong things in a man Her own value system, and the time and place in which she lived also worked against her With her power, money and influence, she might have become a force for positive change in the colonial settlements in Kenya Instead, her tawdry lifestyle and the broken homelife of the children she left behind are her legacy.This is a fascinating look into the lives and decadent lifestyle of that aimless, rich and titled generation between the wars, and one I look forward to exploring further in White Mischief, which I m going to read next


  3. Nancy Nancy says:

    How can a biography of such a flamboyant figure be as colourless as this book I was eager to read about the notorious Bolter who was fictionalized in Nancy Mitford s novels, but this biography somehow emerged as nothingthan a laundry list of marriages, affairs and transgressions.The author was not lacking in sympathy for her subject, but the vibrant society and carefree or were they careless adventures of the Edwardian jet set never really came to life for me I kind of trudged throu How can a biography of such a flamboyant figure be as colourless as this book I was eager to read about the notorious Bolter who was fictionalized in Nancy Mitford s novels, but this biography somehow emerged as nothingthan a laundry list of marriages, affairs and transgressions.The author was not lacking in sympathy for her subject, but the vibrant society and carefree or were they careless adventures of the Edwardian jet set never really came to life for me I kind of trudged through the book with the expectation that I would be drawn into it by the decadent lifestyle of Idina Sackville and her friends, but the stories never succeded in captivating me Something was missing and the characters never really came to life


  4. Susan Susan says:

    The author of this book discovered, purely by chance, that she was related to Idina Sackville, a woman who spent much of her life involved in, and causing, scandal Thankfully, she decided to try to discoverabout her and this is the result, a sympathetic but honest appraisal of her life from Edwardian London to Happy Valley in Kenya Idina was herself the child of divorced parents, who had an unconventional mother and found herself frowned upon as a suitable bride when she became a debutan The author of this book discovered, purely by chance, that she was related to Idina Sackville, a woman who spent much of her life involved in, and causing, scandal Thankfully, she decided to try to discoverabout her and this is the result, a sympathetic but honest appraisal of her life from Edwardian London to Happy Valley in Kenya Idina was herself the child of divorced parents, who had an unconventional mother and found herself frowned upon as a suitable bride when she became a debutante However, glamorous and outgoing, she made an impressive match when she married the incredibly rich and handsome Euan Wallace Their early married life was interrupted by the First World War and, as children came and they were separated by events and change, it affected them Idina was unwilling to put up with Euan s affairs and the marriage could not be saved.In hindsight, it is easy to see where, and how, things go wrong This divorce was shocking at a time when marriages between members of the aristocracy had different boundaries Affairs were commonplace, but divorce was not When Idina walked away from her marriage she had to leave behind her two sons What follows are the stories of fourmarriages Charles Gordon, Josslyn Hay infamously murdered in Kenya , Donald Haldeman and Vincent Soltan Gossip surrounded Idina, with rumours of scandalous behaviour at the beautiful homes she created in Kenya Much of what happened seems shocking, even today, with you feeling pity not only for Idina herself, who seemed to need somebody to cling to in order to prove her attraction but also for her children This is a moving, and often tragic, account of a life however, it was certainly a life lived to the full Lastly, I read the kindle version of this book and it contained no illustrations


  5. Jan C Jan C says:

    For whatever reason I apparently put this book down for almost 4 years, having only 60 pages to go I may have to re read some it as I don t really recall how much I liked it her I do like the fact that the book was written by her great granddaughter And how she brings in, at the end, that she and her cousins did not even kn0w they had cousins but had pretended that they did.Hope to update this review after reviewing the earlier portions of the book I ought to go look on my shelves for other For whatever reason I apparently put this book down for almost 4 years, having only 60 pages to go I may have to re read some it as I don t really recall how much I liked it her I do like the fact that the book was written by her great granddaughter And how she brings in, at the end, that she and her cousins did not even kn0w they had cousins but had pretended that they did.Hope to update this review after reviewing the earlier portions of the book I ought to go look on my shelves for other books where I am this close to the end.At the end, Frances goes to see Clouds the last home in Kenya and I was reminded of my family s visit to Homewood one of the places my mother had lived with her cousins and hoped that it was in better shape It was Homewood had burned down when I saw it and was not yet re built Clouds had been taken over by a Kenyan family, a brother and his family would live in one room and a sister and her family would live in another room, etc But much of the house was used for storage and the garden still looked good because Idina The Bolter had put in irrigation systems and a pond So this rating is currently 3 1 2 stars, but is mainly based on the last 60 pages, which were excellent


  6. Angie Angie says:

    If you enjoy reading about post WWI Europe and the lost generation, YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK If you are looking for an example of a psychologically astute biography, YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK Even if you have only just seen the movie White Heat or Out of Africa YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK I can t think of any member of the goodreads intelligentsia who would not ENJOY THIS BOOK.


  7. Laurie Laurie says:

    Biography of Idina Sackville, the woman who personified the wild Twenties and who gave rise to so many fictional scandalous women Osborne is Idina s great granddaughter


  8. Nina Ive Nina Ive says:

    For a historical biography, this was a strong 4.5 stars Lady Idina Sackville was part of the rich and glamorous fast set of Edwardian London She famously left her first husband and two young children to run off to Africa with another man She went on to marry and divorce a total of five times, and was labelled by one of her husbands I forget which as a nymphomaniac Her sexual appetite was so insatiable she held wild partner swapping parties with her inner circle and was said to have had lov For a historical biography, this was a strong 4.5 stars Lady Idina Sackville was part of the rich and glamorous fast set of Edwardian London She famously left her first husband and two young children to run off to Africa with another man She went on to marry and divorce a total of five times, and was labelled by one of her husbands I forget which as a nymphomaniac Her sexual appetite was so insatiable she held wild partner swapping parties with her inner circle and was said to have had lovers without number These are the sensationalist stories that hit the press and fuelled her infamous reputation The author is the great granddaughter of Idina, who faithfully traced the family history through letters, diaries and photographs of Idina s life What we learn is that yes Idina flaunted conventions of the time, but she was also very strong, independent and hard working She managed to build and run successful dairy farms in Africa She built beautiful homes, gardens and herds of cattle, barefooted by day, dressed to the nines at night She also appeared to be a very loyal and faithful friend.I was however horrified at the treatment of children during this period It seemed to be standard practice for parents of this affluent group to see their children occasionally, almost as a courtesy call for a couple of hours on a weekend, in between jaunts to Paris or Claridges or some house party It made me so sad to think of all those little 6 and 7 year olds left at boarding schools, only to see their parents in the holidays and even then, only for show, while the Governess or Nannies did the day to day parenting.There were lots of references in this biography of other novels that were inspired from the group of white settlers in Kenya, termed Happy Valley I must watch Out of Africa again, I hadn t realised that was also based on a true story, and that Tania the heroine of that story whom I can only picture as Meryl Streep apparently hated Idina and avoided any event where they might cross paths There is also reference to the last Vicereine of India Edwina Mountbatten Having just watched a movie about that event in time yes, I can only picture Gillian Anderson I was shocked to discover that Edwina was also a bed hopper and had lovers all over the place This was not the story that was portrayed in The Viceroys House Nancy Mitford is also referenced a few times, so lots of follow up reading coming up


  9. Connie G Connie G says:

    Idina Sackville had a scandalous reputation in Great Britain and Kenya after being married and divorced five times starting in 1913 Her life caught the attention of her great granddaughter, Frances Osborne, whose research led to this biography Glamorous Idina s first husband was the rich, handsome cavalry officer Euan Wallace The Great War and Wallace s philandering led to the demise of her first marriage, and she left her two young sons with Wallace as part of the divorce settlement.Idina s Idina Sackville had a scandalous reputation in Great Britain and Kenya after being married and divorced five times starting in 1913 Her life caught the attention of her great granddaughter, Frances Osborne, whose research led to this biography Glamorous Idina s first husband was the rich, handsome cavalry officer Euan Wallace The Great War and Wallace s philandering led to the demise of her first marriage, and she left her two young sons with Wallace as part of the divorce settlement.Idina s second husband took her to Kenya where she became part of the Happy Valley set in the Highlands A British lottery had been set up in Kenya where settlers could obtain free or inexpensive land for farming This land was attractive to unemployed soldiers coming back from the Great War, and the later sons of aristocrats since the first son had inherited the family estate Idina loved Kenya, and worked hard with her husband and native laborers building a home and establishing a cattle farm The parties in Happy Valley were notorious long weekends filled with alcohol, drugs, and partner swapping.As the book progresses, it seemed to be the same type of situation with each of her five husbands Free spirited Idina was looking for love and sexual adventure with countless lovers, but was abandoned again and again Gossips were busy when one of Idina s former husbands, the Earl of Erroll, was murdered with a jealous husband among the suspects Idina died of cancer in 1955 It is thought that Nancy Mitford s The Persuit of Love , and Michael Arlen s The Green Hat were inspired by her life.Although Idina s life was well researched, I found myself tiring of reading about the endless parties and affairs by the middle of the book I ve read books by other Kenyan settlers such as Beryl Markham and Karen Blixen who had muchaccomplished lives, and giveinformation about the contributions of the native people and the changes in Kenya during that era


  10. Palmyrah Palmyrah says:

    My interest in the white colony that sprang up in the Kenyan highlands between the wars was first triggered by reading Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen, and grew stronger after I discovered, many years later, the photography of a later resident of the locale, Peter Beard However, it wasn t till I read about the hijinks in Happy Valley as recounted in Felipe Fern ndez Armesto s Millennium that I grew truly fascinated with the place It was a purely literary fascination, but none the weaker for that My interest in the white colony that sprang up in the Kenyan highlands between the wars was first triggered by reading Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen, and grew stronger after I discovered, many years later, the photography of a later resident of the locale, Peter Beard However, it wasn t till I read about the hijinks in Happy Valley as recounted in Felipe Fern ndez Armesto s Millennium that I grew truly fascinated with the place It was a purely literary fascination, but none the weaker for that Since then I ve read James Fox s White Mischief and quite a few other things about the place, all of which contained glancing references to the wicked Idina Her exploits were only hinted at in these accounts, suggesting they were too outrageous to recount in full which, of course, only served to inflame my curiosity So as you may imagine, I snapped The Bolter up as soon as I saw it.Well, it kept me reading But though I did stay up until the wee hours yesterday finishing it, the reading was sometimes an effort Considering the story it has to tell, this is a book which shouldn t be boring, yet parts of it are The first part, which deals with Idina s early life and her marriage to Euan Wallace, her first husband, is a farrago of parties and adulteries among the British aristocracy and plutocracy of the Edwardian era booze and bed hopping against a background of balls, race meetings, country house parties and neglected, almost forgotten children who were shunted about from one stately home to another and brought up by governesses while their parents cavorted in London and the fashionable capitals of Europe The second part of the book, which covers the Happy Valley portion of Idina s life, is much better.The book is also frequently marred by sentiment, hackneyed pop psychology, clich turns of phrase and a few absolute howlers Frances Osborne is not a good writer by any stretch of the imagination However, the subject matter conquers the author s inadequacies, and some of the latter half of the book is genuinely affecting.The author s personal relationship to Idina, who was purportedly the model for the Bolter in Nancy Mitford s The Pursuit of Love, is both a strength and a weakness of this book on the one hand, it has given the author access to much material that is unavailable to others, and created an emotional connexion that adds intimacy and immediacy to her portrait of her great grandmother yet it also places the book in a funny generic location, halfway between history and memoir The balance between the two is repeatedly upset in the final chapters, not always with the most convincing of results As for my prurient curiosity regarding Idina s exploits, it was partly satisfied, though I have a feeling that the full story of the goings on in Happy Valley will never now emerge.REQUEST I would like very much to receive recommendations from other members concerning books about the Happy Valley community and,generally, colonial life in British East Africa Please let me know, by way of a comment on this review or a private message, if you have any


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