Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Bolter by Frances Osborne

About the Book:

In an age of bolters—women who broke the rules and fled their marriages—Idina Sackville was the most celebrated of them all. Her relentless affairs, wild sex parties, and brazen flaunting of convention shocked high society and inspired countless writers and artists, from Nancy Mitford to Greta Garbo. But Idina’s compelling charm masked the pain of betrayal and heartbreak. 
Now Frances Osborne explores the life of Idina, her enigmatic great-grandmother, using letters, diaries, and family legend, following her from Edwardian London to the hills of Kenya, where she reigned over the scandalous antics of the “Happy Valley Set.” Dazzlingly chic yet warmly intimate, The Bolter is a fascinating look at a woman whose energy still burns bright almost a century later. (from goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Fascinating account of the author's great grandmother, the notorious "bolter" and queen of Africa's Happy Valley set in the 1920's. Idina and her friends were beautiful, fabulously wealthy, and in search of excitement and adventure. Living in Edwardian England with its strict societal codes was not their style. In the wilds of Kenya, there was the thrill of the danger of the land and opportunities to live the kind of hedonistic lifestyle they craved. They were pleasure seekers who constantly partied and routinely swapped spouses and lovers. A typical Happy Valley party included dancing all night to the gramophone, drinking and drugging, and playing sex games. 

As you would expect from this type of lifestyle, tragedy and heartache was inescapable. Marriages crumbled, children were left to be raised by others, and jealous passions pushed some to the brink of suicide and even murder. 

A very engaging book about a glamorized group of socialites, but I was left never truly understanding their choices, nor did I feel much sympathy for their pain and woes.

4/5 stars

Title: The Bolter
Author: Frances Osbourn
genre: nonfiction; biography

* This book is from my personal library.


Staci said...

I've never heard of "the bolters" so this would be a good reason to find out more!

Audra said...

I've got this to read -- I suspect that sort of callousness you allude to will be an impediment to me -- the people of the 'Happy Valley' set were just so selfish!

Shoshanah said...

This sounds really interesting! I think it would be one thing if it was just about a socialite in Edward England, although I'd still probably read it. But the fact that they travel to Africa makes it that much more appealing to me.

Book of Secrets said...

Hmm, I've never heard of the bolters either. Intriguing!

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When Maidens Mourn
Where Shadows Dance
What Remains of Heaven
Where Serpents Sleep
Why Mermaids Sing
When Gods Die
Before Ever After
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Garden Spells
After the Night

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