A cradle Catholic, Elizabeth Jennings reached for the numinous and the mystical, never allowing anything to stop her writing. Even during periods of severe mental illness and suicidal despair, she wrote on and on.
[Claire Tomalin] had precious little to be grateful for in early childhood. From her father’s memoir, she learned that she had been conceived at the end of a day when he had seriously considered throwing her mother off a cliff.
Away from fractious electioneering, some quiet wisdom is on offer from a contemplative order of religious sisters in Sussex / By Sue Gaisford
Welcome to Patmos! To avoid confusion: this is not St John’s sun-drenched island, but a large, light, oak-framed building sitting in a remote valley full of wild flowers in rural Sussex. The Visitation Sisters (pictured), whose monastery is only a short walk away, chose the name because here the word of God is discussed and spread.
A young woman, Sally Brody, goes to visit her younger brother Steven in Brighton, at the start of this first novel by Miranda Gold. He lives in a seedy boarding house where she hopes to stay three days but, in the event, she goes back home to London the following morning.
In 1913, aged 47, Beatrix Potter married William Heelis, a solicitor from Hawkshead. She had just published her nineteenth book, The Tale of Pigling Bland. The marriage lasted for 30 years until her death: the little story, while still in print, remains extremely odd.
It is 1 December 1746, and young Richard writes to his father, the Reverend Pompilius Smith. Pompilius is safe in his English pulpit where, his miserable son assumes, he is clapping a hand to his temple as he reads, for Richard is languishing in a debtors’ gaol in New-York (sic), imprisoned for fraud.
Throughout her account, Colin adds his own comments: “Well, anybody can say that,” and, “It’s bloody hard work trying to keep you lot under control … don’t expect no sympathy from me.” When the moment arrives for her to be deported, she is injected with a sedative, and slumps to the floor. Colin hands the baby to the little girl.
Medieval English kings had a penchant for French princesses, fetching them willy-nilly to our chilly island from the sunnier realms of Aquitaine, Angoulême and Provence. King Edward II did even better than his forebears by securing the hand of the beautiful Isabella, daughter and sister of the Kings of France.
If you are female, then you’re a daughter. Of course you might also be a sister, wife, mother, aunt, niece, grandmother or mistress, but you have to be a daughter. No escape. This seems to be the notion behind the title of a book that dwells on the lives of seven generations of the lonely daughters of the House of Sackville-West.
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