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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Charmer Who Likes To Be Centre-Stage: Lord Snowdon

Snowdon: The Biography by Anne de Courcy is an excellent analysis of a very complicated man, but livelier writing would have improved the book greatly. It's written in a sympathetic and straightforward way, but the excessive detail sometimes annoyed me. I didn't really want to know about almost every piece of furniture in each of Snowdon's houses, for example.

Anne de Courcy has been criticised for focusing on scandal, but I don't agree with that. Snowdon, himself, didn't make any fuss about the book's content. It does list all or most of his affairs but not in a malicious way.

Three aspects of Snowdon's life made a big impression on me. I felt that he was the one largely responsible for the break-up of his marriage. He started having affairs and he could be quite cruel at times to Princess Margaret. However, they seemed to be unsuited - they both wanted to be the centre of attention and she wanted to spend evenings partying while he liked to go to bed early so that he was ready for work in the morning.

His focus on work is admirable. He is very driven and talented, but on the other hand, he spent so much of his time working that he neglected Princess Margaret and she became lonely.

He was a real crusader for the disabled and achieved very much for them. (I'll add some examples later.) He should be very proud of these achievements and this obviously impressed the author very much.

This is well-worth reading for those who have time. I think that Anne de Courcy, at least, may get rid of the impression some have that Snowdon is just another charming and womanising aristocrat who didn't do anything important.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Site Of The Week: Jane Austen Jewellery

JA is my favourite author and I also like jewellery, like most women! I was pleased to find this site, Reader's Jewelry

Michelle decided to develop lines of jewelry inspired by some of her favourite authors and books, such as Katherine by Anya Seton and Outlanders by Diana Gabaldon. I am sure that both Jane Austen and Katherine Swynford would approve of these designs - they are elegant, charming and historical.

She needs help before she actually has the jewelry made so please vote in her polls!

I also looked at the home site and found some interesting pages about The Bronze Horseman by Paulina Simons. I haven't read this yet, but I like historical novels about Russia and I've enjoyed the books that I've read by this author.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Life of Elizabeth 1 by Alison Weir

I find Alison Weir's writing a bit heavy and dull so I'm not sure why she is so popular. However, she is very good at description and includes pertinent quotes from Elizabethans and Elizabeth herself, so I persevered and this great Queen did come to life for me to a big extent. (It helped to watch Elizabeth R. with Glenda Jackson at the same time!)

Queen Elizabeth 1 led a fascinating life. Her long love affair with Robert Dudley, rivalry with Queen Mary of Scots, and her great victory over the Spanish all make a wonderful story.

I have read many books about her and each one makes me admire her more and more. I know that the Irish don't like her but that's another story again.