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.
BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital moveTV
Final Top Gear reviewTV
FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets
Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 David Cameron refers to 83-year-old Labour MP Dennis Skinner as 'Jurassic Park'
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Optical illusion turns blue demon into brunette
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal will donate entire $32bn fortune to charity
Top Gear: Former co-host James May to present new BBC2 car show
The Rolling Stones announce biggest ever touring rock exhibition with Saatchi Gallery
Game of Thrones season 6: Daenerys actress Emilia Clarke says '50/50 chance' Jon Snow is alive
'Dukes of Hazzard' pulled from screens by CBS as outcry over Confederate flag grows
Game of Thrones season 6: Release date, plots and dragons - everything we know so far
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture