The Bolter by Frances Osborne

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Synopsis

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 Frances Osborne

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Frances Osborne was born in London and studied philosophy and modern languages at Oxford University. She is the author of Lilla's Feast and The Bolter. Her articles have appeared in The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Independent, the Daily Mail, and Vogue. She lives in London with her husband, George Osborne, and their two children.
 
Published May 29, 2009 by Vintage. 320 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Bolter

The New York Times

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Frances Osborne creates a vivid portrait of her scandalous ancestor, Idina Sackville, while conjuring a vanished world with novelistic detail and flair.

Sep 11 2009 | Read Full Review of The Bolter

The New York Times

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A lively, harrowing biography of the glamorous Idina Sackville, celebrated and reviled as a ringleader of the British colonial scene in 1920s Africa.

Jul 05 2009 | Read Full Review of The Bolter

The Guardian

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Surely - to identify a more striking gap - once informed that Idina was "Kenyan queen of books", that she devoured a novel a day, and that Osborne owns photographs of the lady's "packed" bookshelves, we deserve more here than the lone revelation that Idina once read The Sea Eagle, a wartime story...

May 16 2008 | Read Full Review of The Bolter

The Guardian

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'In an age of wicked women,' writes Osborne, 'Idina pushed the bounds of behaviour to extremes.' How can we not read on?.

May 03 2008 | Read Full Review of The Bolter

BC Books

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When Osborne, adolescent curiosity piqued by the article's references to glamour, intrigue, and — one presumes — illicit sex, questioned her parents, her mother revealed the family connection to the woman in the photo.

Jun 01 2010 | Read Full Review of The Bolter

The Wall Street Journal

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... In “The Bolter,” Frances Osborne describes a quintessential example of the ...
The book's central claim is that Idina was more heartbroken than ...

May 30 2009 | Read Full Review of The Bolter

AV Club

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Osborne relies too heavily on Euan’s diaries (Idina often wrote in them, until she was slowly crowded out by his new “set”) and speculation on her wild ancestress’ feelings, against the evidence that Idina broke up marriages she claimed to hold sacred and defied the counsel of her friends.

Jun 04 2009 | Read Full Review of The Bolter

Suite 101

Euan Wallace Idina married Euan (David Euan Wallace) in 1913, when she was just 20.

Oct 10 2010 | Read Full Review of The Bolter

The Bookbag

Summary: A biography of Idina Sackville (1893-1955), the five-times married socialite, member of London 1920s society and part of the Happy Valley community in Kenya for a while, written by her great-granddaughter.

Oct 24 2009 | Read Full Review of The Bolter

Seattle PI

Thus, when Idina's first husband Euan, Osborne's great-grandfather, began to follow the example of his set, Idina had no intention of being the one abandoned.

Apr 26 2011 | Read Full Review of The Bolter

California Literary Review

Despite her continued scandalsheet popularity, her successes in public performances during her career, her courtships, her marriages, her frantic partying, her serial pairings, she remained dissatisfied and unfulfilled in “her deep need to be loved and to give love in return.” Osborne reveals, i...

Jul 27 2009 | Read Full Review of The Bolter

Reader Rating for The Bolter
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