Yale £14.99 (304pp) £13.49 from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
The Magnificent Mrs Tennant, By David Waller
"Correspondence From Various Distinguished Persons. Do Not Throw Away" was scrawled on a bundle found by the author in a farmhouse attic.
David Waller found that the writer of the note, the Victorian society hostess Gertrude Tennant, was not exaggerating. The bundle contained an invitation acceptance from Gladstone ("the very dullest man I ever met," wrote Gertrude), an encouraging note on her daughter's art from Oscar Wilde, letters from her admirer Gustave Flaubert, and some indecipherable notes from Henry James.
Telling the story of Gertrude from threadbare origins in Paris to grande dame, this account might be a novel by Henry James – but you will have no trouble reading it.
There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turningTV
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Rihanna 'nude photos' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Frank Lampard equalises for Manchester City against Chelsea: how Twitter reacted
- 3 Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 4 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Downton Abbey series 5, episode 1, review: Revolution still seems far off
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written
Friends 20th anniversary: The highs and lows of the cast's careers since TV series ended in 2004
Downton Abbey series 5, episode 1, ITV, review: There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning
Friends 20th anniversary: Six things we wouldn't have without influential comedy series
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'