Darling Monster by Diana Cooper
The Letters of Lady Diana Cooper to her Son John Julius Norwich 1939-1952

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The book is much too long. There are not enough plums for so much pudding, but the self-portrait it offers of a woman whose natural vivacity was often a bulwark against pessimism and despair is oddly poignant.
-Guardian

Synopsis

Aristocrat, socialite, actress and wife of Duff Cooper, Churchill's wartime Minister for Information, later Ambassador to France and Viscount Norwich, Diana Cooper was also an inveterate letter-writer. Gathered here, her missives to her only son John Julius Norwich during the Second World War and its aftermath provide a vivid picture of the age and its personalities, and a woman of great intelligence, happiest on her country smallholding but able to cope with the demands on a politician's wife.
 

About Diana Cooper

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Lady Diana Cooper was born on 29 August 1892. She married Alfred Duff Cooper, DSO., who became one of the Second Word War’s key politicians. Her startling beauty resulted in her playing the lead in two silent films and then Max Reinhardt’s The Miracle. In 1944, following the Liberation of Paris, the couple moved into the British Embassy, Paris. They then retired to a house at Chantilly just outside Paris. After Duff’s death in 1954 Diana remained there till 1960, when she moved back to London. She died in 1986. John Julius Norwich, the only son of Diana and Duff Cooper, is the author of histories of Norman Sicily, the Republic of Venice, the Byzantine Empire,the Mediterranean and, most recently, The Popes. He has also written on architecture, music and the history plays of Shakespeare, and has presented some thirty historical documentaries on BBC Television.
 
Published January 1, 2013 by Chatto & Windus. 528 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Darling Monster
All: 3 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 2

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Sophia Martelli on Oct 26 2014

While Darling Monster is a showcase of Diana’s debonair wit, it is also a unique chronicle of wartime Britain. Her vivid descriptions, the sense of bravery in the face of impending doom, make these letters the kind of primary source material historians drool over.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Rosemary Hill on Oct 31 2013

The book is much too long. There are not enough plums for so much pudding, but the self-portrait it offers of a woman whose natural vivacity was often a bulwark against pessimism and despair is oddly poignant.

Read Full Review of Darling Monster: The Letters ... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Rachel Cooke on Oct 05 2013

...they're often hard to follow, being so full of names, houses and gatherings. Norwich's footnotes and an extensive social directory at the back of the book do not entirely alleviate this problem.

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