The Bolter (eBook)


A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year
An O, The Oprah Magazine #1 Terrific Read

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 the Trade Paperback edition.

About the Author

Frances Osborne was born in London and studied philosophy and modern languages at Oxford University. She is the author of Lilla’s Feast. Her articles have appeared in The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Independent, the Daily Mail, and Vogue. She lives in London with her husband, a Member of Parliament, and their two children.

Praise for The Bolter…

". . . A vivid portrait of her scandalous ancestor and her relationships with family members, while conjuring a vanished world with novelistic detail and flair."
—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"A beautifully written, intriguing chronicle of a frenetic, privileged, and profoundly sad life, it catches a social group and the mad-cap lives they led—so luxurious, so wasted."

—Barbara Goldsmith, author of Obsessive Genius and Little Gloria. . . Happy at Last

"The Bolter is a feast."

—Dominique Browning, New York Times Book Review


"For those who can't ever get enough of the frolics and affairs of the British upper class in the '20s and '30s, this is the book for you. . . brilliant and utterly divine. . . full of charming details and wonderfully good stories about old scandals. . . It's a breath of fresh air from a vanished world."

—Michael Korda, The Daily Beast

"Osborne has written an engaging book, drawing a ­revealing portrait of a remarkable woman and adding ­humanity to her "scandalous" life. . . And what a life it was.

Wall Street Journal

"Osborne's lively narrative brings Lady Idina Sackville boldly to life. . . the text, most lyrical when describing the landscapes around Idina's African residences, proves than an adventurous spirit continues to run in this fascinating family."

—Publishers Weekly (starred)

"Sex, money, glamour, and scandal make Idina Sackville's story hard to put down.  What brings that story to life is the courage of an incorrigibly stylish survivor. Searching for the woman behind the legend Osborne discovers [gives us] a heroine impossible to resist."  

—Frances Kiernan, author of The Last Mrs. Astor and Seeing Mary Plain: A life of Mary McCarthy
"Fascinating. . . beautifully written. . . Frances Osborne brings the decadence of Britain's dying aristocracy vividly to life in this story of scandal and heartbreak."

—Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Young Stalin and Stalin: Court of the Red Tsar

Product Details ISBN-13: 9780307272324
Published: Vintage, 06/02/2009
Language: en

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